Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artist: Mike Norton
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco
Publisher: DC Comics
A school for mystically gifted youngsters. How has nobody thought of this before? Oh, wait…
This oversized first issue introduces us to the freshman class of Mystik U. Besides Zatanna, there’s a lesser-known cast of magical teens from around the DCU. The faculty at the school might be more recognizable for some readers, but still “deep cuts” in their own right. After an unseen enemy, referred to as the “Malevolence”, brings the world to its knees, the headmaster of the school resets time with a spell, hoping to find the student that becomes the looming terror.
Kwitney uses a beautifully diverse batch of students with individual powers and backgrounds. Each is given a strong voice, which helps bring the reader in and make us care about them quickly. I wasn’t grabbed at first, but the issue did pick up as the story started to gel towards the end. There was some decent humor to be had as well. The story is similar to other “first day of school” tales like Harry Potter and Gotham Academy. I was especially reminded of the first issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, where the school itself was a prominent character. I hate to compare it to other properties so much, but it does seem like the publisher greenlit this book with those properties firmly in mind.
Veteran artist Mike Norton returns to the DCU, bringing his polished style to this book. Anyone familiar with his work knows why he’s been working consistently for so many years. He brings a clean line and expert storytelling to any comic, and there’s no difference here. Solid colors round out the art, giving the book an appealing visual flair.
A familiar story, this book will definitely have an audience, but it will have to find its own identity to pull away from the pack. All the pieces are in place, and with a deep mystical bullpen to draw from at DC there’s no reason it couldn’t become a young adult mainstay for the publisher.