By Lilah Sturges, Pius Bak, Gabriel Cassata & Mike Fiorentino
Concluding this arc in style, Lilah Sturges makes sure that #5 of The Magicians is something that fans are going to remember, bringing everything to a climatic magical bloodbath that shows that the attack on the library was only the beginning of the chaos. Picking up right after where the fourth issue left off pitting everyone against Nafarro and Sophie, The Magicians continues its high stakes as the team try to figure out how to deal with Sophie’s power boost since she became a revenant. The five issues that we’ve had so far have done a good job at making the audience familiar with the characters as Sturges continues to put them through the wire, escalating the stakes even further befitting of a final issue.
These are characters that recognise what happens if they fail, why they’re the only ones that can take on Nafarro (who gets a fully fleshed out arc rather than coming across as a one-dimensional villain)– any Magicians fan knows that Battle Magic is something that’s extremely dangerous in this universe. Spending much of the issue’s time on fight scenes allow Pius Bak to demonstrate maximum creativity, depicting the conflict with the unlimited budget that the television show can’t really do. The fight scenes have been the consistent high point of the series at least in terms of the art, and Gabriel Cassata more than delivers. Mike Fiorentino has raised his lettering game to match – bringing to life the characters through their line delivery and helping to illustrate the importance of each line.
Much of the build-up to the showdown between Dean Fogg and Nafarro has been taking place over the course of The Magicians and the payoff is rewarding when it comes in this issue. The book wastes no time in getting straight into the thick of things and keeping the pace interesting, and the comic really goes that extra mile to create a third avenue for fans to explore beyond Lev Grossman’s books and the show, which is currently in the middle of its fifth and final season. For those craving more of the world and open to see a different take with different characters, Sturges has helped sell that vision perfectly in these five issues, whilst also finding a way to make the series believable and accessible to those who aren’t fans of the wider material – due to the lack of connectivity, this could quite feasibly be someone’s first exposure to The Magicians and they’d understand and get what was happening perfectly, and finding a line to appease both newcomers and hardcore fans alike can often be hard to accomplish, with bigger franchises having showed in the past.
As a mini-series it works perfectly, and hopefully it won’t be the last that we’ll get to see of these characters who have been so-well defined over the course of the past five issues. The darker twist on Harry Potter has been one of the main draws of the world – and Sturges delights in pushing that vision to maximise its potential.