Sylar, a true Blood actor, and a graphic designer teamed up to bring you this book about a mage as a superspy. So is it worth picking up?
Credits & Solicit Info:
LUCID #1 (of 4)
Retail Price: $3.95
Page Count: 24 pages
Format: saddle bound, 6.625" x 10.25", full color
On-Sale Date: September 9, 2010
Written by Michael McMillian
Illustrated by Anna Wieszczyk
Cover by Anna Wieszczyk
Welcome to the world of LUCID, the highly anticipated, action-packed, pop-fantasy, four-issue miniseries that draws inspiration from the spy genre, Arthurian legend and 21st-century folklore! Dark forces are conspiring to prevent humankind from reaching its true potential. Thankfully, as newly appointed "Protector of the Realm," Agent Matthew Dee uses his skills as a covert spy and Combat Mage to ensure America's freedom from the grip of evil. In the debut issue: Who is Waylan Gheely, and what forbidden power has he stolen? What ancient evil, banished two millennia ago by Merlin himself, threatens to consume our dimension? What presence lurks in the shadows behind it all? And just who is The Secretary of Secrets? Written by "True Blood" actor Michael McMillian and illustrated by newcomer Anna Wieszczyk, LUCID is Archaia's first title published in association with Zachary Quinto ("Heroes," "Star Trek") and his company, Before the Door.
T +13 (Contains material suitable for teen readers age 13 and above)
I'm not the biggest fantasy fan in the world. If it wasn't written by Tolkien, I have a hard time getting into it. That's why The Dresden Files is such a cool concept. It took of my least favorite things in fantasy – the sorcerer- and put him smack dab in the middle of my favorite genre, the crime thriller mystery.
If Butcher's novels read like what if Harry Potter became a PI, then Lucid reads like what if Harry Potter became a super spy. There is lots of jargon flying around in the comic like "mage" and pictures of what I assume are runes taking the place of words when a spell is cast, but it all somehow works for the story.
Some crazy philanthropist nut job (probably a scientologist) summoned some space demons that he thought were gods. How dumb is it to call some things that Merlin put behind some crazy wall? Anyhow, now these things want back into our dimension and Agent Michael Dee must fight them and maybe find out why.
We get to see that the main character is important enough to talk to the president and have his own handler. We also get to see a peek of his home life which is less than ideal.
So, it's an entertaining idea and not unfun, but it doesn't quite work. First of all, the president in the book is talking about the former administration's problems with gathering information. He has a problem with a séance that Dee wants to perform to extract information from the dead villain. However, just moments after explaining this seemingly transparency stance and questioning the validity of the séance, he introduces Dee to his new "secretary of secrecy." I know politicians are supposed to be a hypocritical lot and all that, but seldom are they dumb enough to backtrack that far in one sentence.
Next, Dee's personal life. Okay, the relationship with the off screen character is annoying, but it is not as bad as the fact that this super spy is looking at bills that are three months overdue. It would be one thing if the implication was that he just got back from an extended mission but it is earlier stated that this new threat happened that day and was a near miss at best. Why in the world is he not paying his bills? The only logical reason is that the writer, an actor on True Blood, is attempting to create empathy in the otherwise hard to relate to character. That's what Butcher and Rowling were doing with their characters. Problem is, he's a super spy trusted with the world's biggest secrets. Sure, normal government employees aren't compensated that well, there is some gratification in service done well. However, this is James Bond with a magic wand (not literally), you would think everyone would want to keep him happy. I just don't buy he is struggling to pay his bills.
The art is interesting. This is Wieszczyk's first comics work. She is a graphic designer by trade and this shows in her nifty mixed media backgrounds that look like they came from some Squaresoft game. Her pencil work is not unlike what people see in Bleach and other manga. It's even got that kind of kinetic flow to each panel. As smart as it all looks (with a computerized color palette like what Freakangels fans are familiar with) it's not the most cohesive narrative art. There is the spark in her art though... with time and the right creative partners, she could create something interesting.
Other than a couple of inconsistencies that aren't hard to overlook, this is an entertaining enough magic spy book. I guess maybe I expected something a little more from a hybrid concept.
Review by: Lee Newman