This has been an interesting series thus far. It has a fantastic concept worthy of a “Fables”-like ongoing , though it’s only solicited as a five-issue mini-series. That would be the biggest failing here, the idea that the concept is too big to effectively cover in five issues.
Issue #3 of “Magus” starts off a bit rough and falling a little bit into the traps of the second issue, rather than the fun and innovation of the first issue. It quickly redeems itself, though, when writer Jon Price loosens up and lets his characters and concept play together, going for jokes and character development rather than too serious posturing and intrigue. While the first third of the issue feels like it’s trying a bit too hard -- too earnest, too serious -- the last two thirds are a lot of fun. Price excels when he leans toward the funny, and particularly with the young bravado and optimism -- sometimes idiotically so, but that works too-- of Darius. There are decent laughs to be had here, which was unexpected but a pleasant surprise.
Rebekah Isaacs’ art on this series continues to be a dream. Fluid and lovely, with crystal clear storytelling and nice pacing, she gets everything right from the dragon fight in the Save-A-Lot to the quieter character moments. Isaacs well knows how to pace a story and lay it out for maximum impact, capturing both the intimate and the epic with casual ease. It’s great to see an artist this fantastic on a small book like this, but it’s easy to imagine Isaacs being called up to the big two with more regularity in short order -- which will be a loss for a book like this. Isaacs’ “Captain America And The Falcon” from last week was equally gorgeous and her work on Brian Wood’s “DV8: Gods & Monsters” mini-series from last year was borderline revolutionary, and that much talent doesn’t work for the smaller guys for long. It’s unfortunate there isn’t a way to have Isaacs on both mainstream books as she deserves, and on smaller books like “Magus.” Though the “Magus’” concept is fantastic and the writing is solid, it’s unclear how well “Magus” would fare without her art doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
Three issues in, this remains a solid mini-series that deserves more attention than it’s getting. Though there are some writing inconsistencies and a plot that is too big for its mini-series britches, the idea remains impressive. When the writing lets loose, it’s a lot of fun. And the beautiful artwork is worthy of the best most expensive books on the stands.