Written by: Tini Howard and Ryan Cady
Art by: Christian DiBari
Colourist: Mike Spicer
Lettering by: Troy Peteri
Cover by: Christian DiBari
Published by: Top Cow/Image Comics
After a five-year hiatus, we welcomed Magdalena back to our shelves in March in a bold new Top Cow adventure. A woman descended from Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, the eponymous Magdalena is charged with defending the church against demons and evil magic. She wields the Spear of Destiny, a lance that drew power as it slipped from Christ’s side.
Tini Howard (The Skeptics) and Ryan Cady (The X-Files) let the record skip in Issue #1, opening their narrative with the injured heroine, Patience, in search of her replacement. This came in the form of Maya Dos Santos, a rebellious girl who let loose the demon Beelzebub in her very first battle. But with faith waning in her church, Patience had no choice but to place her own in the hands of the teenager.
Issue #2 feels less like a tidal wave of action, more like a bridge over troubled waters. Most of the comic follows Maya as she trains. The writers flip the coin between snappy dialogue and Maya’s thoughts here on a whim, showing her doubts about becoming the Magdalena as Patience continues to lose strength. Christian Di Barri (Artist) and Mike Spencer (Colours) bring a more contemporary feel to these panels, and though they’re not as evocative as issue #1, they certainly lend our hero’s a the more heavenly and reverent look we might have expected for a story about the warriors of the Christian church. Even when we flick to the pages of Weyer Blackwood (our chief villain), the duo of Di Barri and Spencer aren’t afraid to experiment with bright tones they shied away from in the first issue.
The writing team aren’t afraid to take their own risks, steering the Magdalena narrative onto stranger tides. Perhaps that’s why the business end of the comic-where demons spread black magic through meat-doesn’t come as quite a surprise. It’s Maya’s first real chance to prove herself to Patience, but though she lands herself centre stage, she can’t stop Weyer Blackwood making the most noise. The pages (graphics et al) turn dark as the villain emerges, and as the panels fly past, the stakes are raised higher and higher. By the time we reach the sneak peek of issue #3, we already feel we know what’s in store, not least because Patience said it herself.
“Something’s coming. And God help us all when it hits.”