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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Magic: The Gathering 1 & 2


(A Suspended Animation "classic" from 1998.)

A 4-part series, 24 pgs. each. Priced at $2.95 each from Dark Horse Comics. Story by: Mike Grell; Pencils: Pop Mhan. Sold in comics shops or by mail.

I know nothing about Magic: The Gathering, the card game. After having read two issues of Magic: The Gathering, the comic book, I know nothing about it either.

Why, you ask?

Granted, the pictures are pretty. The artist has a dynamic, angular style that is enhanced by excellent color work. It is a shame that it is almost impossible to tell what is happening from panel to panel.

Granted, the story is written in a dynamic style that is enhanced by excellent (except for visual storytelling) art. It is a shame that it is almost impossible to tell one character from another, or what is happening from panel to panel, or that an experienced comics writer who knows how to write failed here.

It isn't because Magic: The Gathering was written and drawn by amateurs, however. It is partially because it was edited by amateurs.

Oh? How do I know this?

Only an amateur editor would let a creative team try in introduce dozens of characters in the first issue, and at least a half dozen additional ones in the second. Sisay, Kondo, Multani, Gerrard, Crovax, and Squee are introduced on the first page!

Only an amateur would heap on dozens and dozens of new, alien names for lots of animal-headed aliens, places, things and the handful of humans in this title. Dominaria, Rath, Volrath, Starke, Hanna, Orin, Tahngarth, Urborg, Selenia and Jolav do not round out the first issue.

Let's not forget the plot and subplots...

...oops.

This isn't a comic book. It's an encyclopedia.

If vou like much ado about nothing and lots of sparkle, you'll love this mess of confetti.

Michael Vance