Writer: Mark Millar
Art & Cover: Olivier Coipel
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Peter Doherty
Publisher: Image Comics
The first series of the new Millarworld/Netflix partnership was highly anticipated to say the least. Putting together Millar with celebrated artist Olivier Coipel was an alchemical mix that was just plain exciting. So how did it turn out?
The Moonstone family is part an ancient order of wizards and magicians. They’re the (mostly) benevolent power brokers of the world. However, when another member of the order is murdered, the entire order may be in danger- including Gabriel, the son who just wants out of the life.
Millar’s story here is primarily world building and character introductions, but he has a lot of fun with both. He essentially writes this story en media res- there’s a lot of history here. The story is so much better for it. Each of the characters are fascinating. Cordelia Moonstone is a stereotypical wild child, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting. Leonard is the patriarch, but he breaks the mold being generally jovial, despite a hint of cynicism. As for Gabriel- it’s somewhat obvious where the story will take him, but in the way it’s written that’s a good thing, not a cliche.
Coipel and color artist Dave Stewart make this world vibrant, lived in and interesting. Coipel doesn’t go for bombast like some artists might. He juxtaposes the magical and the mundane. It places what’s happening firmly in our world, which heightens the fantastic. There are some absolutely beautiful pages in this too. When Leonard Moonstone sits down with his cigar, the swirls of the tobacco smoke looks just great.
Stewart’s colors are great. In Cordelia’s introduction, you see the skyline behind her at dusk, and the richness of the sunset is stellar. Once the Order dives into the wake mid-issue, his dark palate not only sets the tone, but also makes it all feel very ethereal.
While not a perfect first issue, this was a great introduction to this world, and really did a lot to get its hooks into me. I’m definitely going to check out #2.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Review by Tony Thornley
Mystical mayhem from a mafia family of magic doers by Mark Millar: the description alone should have everyone on the edge of their seats (and possibly getting tongue-tied). Based on the anticipation for this comic, one couldn’t help but have high expectations, so it’s a good thing that The Magic Order lived up to them.
Textually, the book is close to perfection. There are few captions, realistic dialogue for the most part, and the timing is accurate. An easy, yet engrossing read, which is just what one wants from a first issue.The Moonstone family is intriguing, if a little flat so far, but it is of course, just the first issue. The story is very well-paced, with enough exposition mixed amongst all the action to get me yearning for the next part of the plot. I found myself appalled at the beginning, interested as the characters were introduced, surprised about half through, piqued as I encountered some of the antagonists, and chilled at the end. I feel as if I went through the whole gamut of emotions and then some. That’s quite an accomplishment for one single comic issue.
I was really taken by this sense of casualness to the fantastic that permeated throughout The Magic Order; the supernatural was normal…but not. It’s difficult to describe, but this type of contradiction really added to the atmosphere, that was only enhanced by the gorgeous visuals.
So then, let’s get to the art. Olivier Coipel has a unique, yet highly recognizable style. The drawings play so well into the almost paradoxical vibe. The images were clear yet murky, poignant yet mundane, expressive yet nonchalant. I ogled many of the panels for a long while after reading the balloons. I’m not sure a more apt artist would have done the story so much justice. Dave Stewart’s colors were also completely on point for the feel of the book. There really isn’t much to critique with this one. It’s a cinematic debut, packed with puzzles of all shapes and sizes and quite deserving of the status bestowed on it before it ever hit the shelves.