Magic is a tie in comic to the popular collectible trading card game Magic the Gathering and assumes some familiarity with the story and characters that have appeared in the game. In terms of storyline, this takes place sometime after the “War of the Spark” expansion, but I am unsure of the exact placement. The first caption reads, “The multiverse is vast, and the planes of existence innumerable,” which gives an idea of the scope covered here. The focus narrows from there to the plane of Ravnica which is a gigantic city, but it’s still an intimidating opening.
A mysterious group sets off explosions around the city of Ravnica, following up with assassination attempts on three guildmasters who are also planeswalkers (people who can travel between worlds). The three main characters: Vraska, Kaya, and Ral attempt to find out who is behind the attacks and end up embroiled in a wide ranging conspiracy. Along the way they work with other planeswalkers, butt heads with other guildmasters, and explore the many worlds they can travel to. There is a focus on exploring the world of Ravnica, as that is where the bulk of the action takes place.
The artwork is detailed and vibrant, very similar to the artwork typically found on Magic cards, but with some variations that differentiate from the game’s style. Some breaks from traditional layout and gutter style can be hard to follow. For example, early in the book the gutters are replaced with lightning effects for one page, but those same bolts can be found in the panel art, making it hard to tell what’s part of the story and what is meant to break up the sequence. There is a lot of fun to be had in the backgrounds. The main character’s ability to travel to different dimensions leads to a wide variety of locations, each with a distinctive environment.
McKay repeats place names and key pieces of vocabulary early on, which can be useful to the unfamiliar reader. Thankfully, voices of the main characters are distinguishable from each other. For example Vraska, the gorgon, is written as somewhat haughty while Kaya, the assassin, is more casual and modern. Some characters are introduced without much description, such as Jace Beleren, who is described as “the mind mage”. No further explanation of him being a planeswalker similar to the main characters is given, or a reason why he is so important to protect later on in the story. There are short descriptions of the various locales, but for more information the reader would have to turn to the game itself.
The publisher, Boom! Comics does not list a suggested age range for Magic, but I would place it firmly in teen. There are flashes of violence and death throughout, but very little in the way of adult language or sexual content. The concepts of various fantasy worlds that can be explored is a bit too complex for younger readers. This places the comic in the same suggested age bracket as the card game.
I would recommend this for public libraries with a strong fantasy or gaming population. If you have other tie-in works in your collection, or have a few Dungeons and Dragons groups using your space, this would be a welcome addition to your shelf.
Magic, vol. 1
By Jed MacKay
Art by Ig Guara
BOOM! Studios, 2021
Related media: Game to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)