Friday, December 29, 2017

A Joyful Return

Mage: The Hero Denied #4 (Image, November 2017, $3.99)
Like Rock Candy Mountain, Mage: The Hero Denied is one of my favorite comic books of 2017. Written and drawn by Matt Wagner, this series is such a joyful return. I've been a fan of the creator since his work on Grendel, as well as on the two previous Mage series, The Hero Discovered and The Hero Defined. Such wonderful comics.

We're far enough into this new series now that we can step back from reintroducing the world, its characters, and the themes of the book. This issue—similar to Rock Candy Mountain's chase scene in #6—is almost all fight scene. And what a fight!

The Pendragon has lured Ereshkigal, mistress of the underworld and keeper of one of Death's houses, the ancient hell of Irkalla. He fights an assortment of zombies (pp. 7-8's splash panel is quite impressive)—"The dead are everywhere!" Their battle is interrupted by the arrival of another house claiming the Pendragon's soul.

The art is characteristically excellent, the coloring solid, and the scripting well paced and interesting. Welcome back, Mage. And welcome back, Mr. Wagner.

Availability: You can get this issue online, even direct from Image. I recommend going back to the beginning, as well. Mage Book One: The Hero Discovered Volume 1 collects the first six issues of that 1980s Comico series.

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