Review- Magic #4: House Dimir Speaks! [Boom! Studios}
Writer- Jed MacKay
Illustrator- Ig Guara
Colorist- Arianna Consonni (Arancia Studios)
Letterer- Ed Dukeshire
Publisher- Boom! Studios
Synopsis (per solicits): What secrets does Lazav keep? Having discovered Duskmantle, Kaya, Vraska, and Ral will meet with the secretive Guildmaster of the Dimir, who may be the key to unraveling the mystery of the assassination attempts. Meanwhile, the plot against the trio is beginning to turn Ravnica itself against them…
Jed MacKay and Ig Guara continue with their journey on Ravnica with Kaya, Vraska, and Ral searching for the truth behind the assassination attempts on the Guildmasters and Jace Berlen. The plot thickens as we learn the true force behind all of these attempts is far greater than what they originally intended.
Magic: The Gathering can be a bit dense in the lore. Especially after the past couple years where the story overarched for multiple sets and planes before culminating in the War of the Spark expansion. Older fans may recall Magic having Novels and even short-lived comic books, but the series has largely moved to online novellas and short stories. I think the comics from BOOM! Studios help supplement the stories in a meaningful way.
MacKay brings out the best version of the characters and finds what makes them tick. This is more impressive given the size of the cast and the honest effort to make this comic accessible to readers outside of the Magic Bubble. MacKay does a great job incorporating Magic’s lore in a way for casual fans but rewarding for long term readers. For instance, the exploration of the intraguild dynamics in this arc has been on point and helps flesh out this complex world of Ravnica. The politics at play gives it a more lived in vibe and helps power the intrigue and mystery of the story. MacKay’s mystery has me hooked as a reader and I want to learn the truth behind the attacks. Given the involvement of longtime villain Tezzeret, nothing good is to come from this.
The dynamics between the Guilds and the Guildless of Ravnica, as displayed in this issue, is one that isn’t explored much in the card game’s flavor text. It is a dynamic MacKay begins to explore here and adds an interesting wrinkle to what lies ahead. I am curious to see where they are going to go with this series.
Ig Guara’s art is this wonderful fluid animated style that really makes the characters pop off the page. The expression work we see here helps compliment the intrigue of the issue as Magic #4 is more of a dialog heavy issue as the machinations of Tezzeret come into view for the characters and readers alike. Issues like this can be a challenge for some artist but Guara does a superb job providing dynamic composition and varied layouts for the characters. Each of the main planeswalkers experience a dreamscape sequence and Guara takes advantage of this by creating varied and unique environments that fit the characters and is visually interesting.
The colors by Arianna Consonni compliments the Guara’s line work with bright vibrant colors to fit the more fluid styles. It pleasant to look at and creates a nice visually distinct look. Magic: The Gathering’s art style doesn’t necessarily match the comic, but those hyper detailed painted pieces do not correspond well with sequential work. Guara and Consonni create a unique adaptation of the worlds of Magic: The Gathering that allows for more expression and color. I love that.
Magic #4 continues to show that this Magic series is a must read for fans of the card game. Seeing all of these characters interact in a world of intrigue and politics makes the game come to life in a way that the novels just can’t do. If you aren’t a fan of the game, I think there is something there for you as well with the mix of fantasy and science fiction. The creative team does a solid job making this comic accessible to casual fans, as well. Overall, Magic #4 brings the story further along and helps build it to the explosive conclusion.
Final Score: 8.0/10
Read the review for Magic #1 here: https://extremelyuncanny.com/2021/04/16/review-magic-1-planeswalk-with-me/