The Crossgen revival continues to roll out at Marvel with a new Mystic #1 by G. Willow Wilson and David López!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciller: David Lopez
Penciller (cover): Amanda Conner
Orig. Published: August 03, 2011
A Crossgen title reimagined as only Marvel could! Eisner Award-nominated G. Willow Wilson (Air, Superman, Cairo) and superstar David Lopez (HAWKEYE/MOCKINGBIRD, Catwoman) join forces to bring you the story of two seemingly ordinary orphan girls who find their lives turned upside down by magic...one of them will find herself responsible for saving the world and the other as her mortal enemy! The magic begins this August!
"I just wish I could see the world the way you see it – as a place where dreams and hopes mean something. But all I see is tomorrow, and it looks exactly like today."
The first page of Mystic #1 shows a beautiful and expansive cityscape that's humming with energy and looks like something out of a distant fantasy. The next two pages show two young urchin girls at a group home for orphans reading about magic and pontificating about their lot in life. In these three pages, a wondrous new world is built.
A common knock against magic-based stories is that there are no "rules," so a lot of the magic feels arbitrary and doesn't have any limits. In Mystic #1, writer G. Willow Wilson solves the magical problem by tying it into science. In the world of Mystic, magic and science are the same, and so it is wrapped up in textbooks and measured by instruments. Magic is science, and fantasy is technology (this is reminiscent of Witch Doctor #1, which recast magic as a branch of medicine). It's an elegant solution, and works to drive the story of this issue.
The two urchin girls, Giselle and Genevieve, live in a group home for wayward girls run by a cruel matron who works the girls to the bone and intimidates them with two giant mechanical dogs. In such a harsh environment, friends need to stick together, and that's where Giselle and Genevieve come in. Giselle is headstrong and angry, seeing the world as an inherently unjust place that beats on the downtrodden. Genevieve, however, dares to dream of a way out of the squalor and has aspirations to move up in the world by studying magic, a pursuit usually reserved for the noble classes. Despite these opposing world views, the relationship between Giselle and Genevieve feels very natural and organic, and it's a real pleasure to read their every interaction. The dialogue in the issue is so free-flowing and effortless that they bring a sense of vibrancy to the world of Mystic.
Speaking of vibrancy, the art team of David López, Álvaro López, and Nathan Fairbairn provide a lot of brightness with their lovely artwork. There is some cartoony flair, but character anatomy and body language really come to the forefront. Giselle, Genevieve, and all the characters in this issue look and move like real people, and the action flows smoothly from one panel to the next. There is one specific panel, where Giselle's eyes are filling up with tears (after she had been struck by Mistress Alenora) that is particularly powerful. There are a lot of moments like this, and they are all rendered so well.
Mystic #1 is a well-constructed first issue of a comic that promises another great modern day fantasy story, with strong characters and a great hook that starts to play out in the last few pages. What's so remarkable is how much this issue introduces. There are class issues at play here, as well as a friendship drama and great use of a fanstastical setting that really springs to life. It's a very lively comic, and hopefully the rest of the story can live up to this strong issue.
Review by: Royal Nonesuch