Writer: Raymond E. Feist
Adaptation: Michael Avon Oeming & Bryan J.L. Glass
Artists: Brett Booth, Vinicius Andrade (colors)
Publisher: Dabel Brothers Productions
DB Pro has done it again! They have taken another science fiction/fantasy franchise and adapted it for the comic buying public. Now I have to run out and buy Raymond Feistís Riftwar saga, just so I can see how it relates to this project. Man, because of Dabel Brothers, I have been reading more books than comic books lately (maybe I should become a book reviewer... Nah!). Before reading this series, there were three reasons I was excited about Magician. First, from what Iíve heard, Raymond Feistís book is a masterpiece of fantasy characterization, similar to the best of Tolkien. Second, Michael Avon Oeming is involved in the adaptation of this novel, meaning that the pacing and comic book sensibilities should be much better than DBís Red Prophet. Finally, DB always produces beautifully illustrated comics, and since Brett Booth has experience working on some Wildstorm titles, Magician should have some great art. After reading two issues of this series, my first two reasons for excitement were dead on right. The artwork, though, is... uh... normal and kind of unoriginal. Well, as Meatloaf said, two out of three ainít bad!
Looking at the positives of issue #2, Oeming and Bryan Glass have created an intriguing story with great pacing and a lot of character momentum for the future. Pug is a perfect lovable underdog, as he has to contend with town bullies and the nearly unattainable love of the beautiful Princess Carline. The only thing he doesnít have to deal with are high expectations, as both his master, Kurgan, and the other nearby Midkemians donít think he will blossom into a master anytime soon. This sounds like a good set up for Pugís future in the series, and since I havenít read the original novels, I am looking forward to where they take this immature character. As for pacing, while issue #2 was a little more dense than the first issue, it moved at a steady pace, never lingering too long or flying through any particular parts. The scene midway through the issue displaying a primitive soccer match and a fight between Pug and Rulf was the perfect break from the heavy dialogue that preceded it. So far, Oeming and Glass have done just about everything right with this series, adapting this novel without the wordiness that has plagued other literary series. Roland Bernard Brown, take note!
Like I said though, the artwork is what really brings this issue, and this series, down to earth. Brett Booth has worked on Thundercats and Extinction Event for Wildstorm, where his artwork resembled a poor manís Jim Lee. I would have figured that the style he used in those series had something to do with Leeís influence, but the same kind of derivative drawing is apparent in Magician. Not only that, the characters donít have much life to them, as they are typically drawn in static poses with wide-eyed faces that donít always jive with the apparent emotion of the scene. Look at the third page of issue #2, if you donít believe me. The first panel looks like the characters are posing for a class picture. Then, the emotional close-ups that Booth offers for the remaining panels donít capture the dialogue being spoken between Pug, Tomas, and Martin. The art really wasnít effective for this kind of fantasy tale, and the coloring didnít add anything to the proceedings. Andradeís work was way too dark for this issue and didnít create any visual excitement. Basically, this is the poorest showing in regards to artwork that DB has produced to date.
Still, I would recommend picking up this issue if you are a fan of fantasy fiction, both in comic book or novel form. Iím sure fans of the original Feist novels will have something to say about the pacing of this work, but they have to realize that this is a comic book and, just like a film, certain things must be removed or added to create an entertaining result. Believe me, Riftwar is in good hands with Oeming and Glass!
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