• Mage The Hero Denied #2



    Mage The Hero Denied #2
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: September 13th, 2017.
    Written & Illustrated by: Matt Wagner
    Purchase From Amazon

    “Kevin Matchstick is the reborn Pendragon, able to ignite anything he touches with the mystic power of the legendary weapon, Excalibur. For years he has lived in secret, seeking to hide and protect his young family from the dark forces of the malevolent Umbra Sprite. His heroic inactivity has left him confused and yearning for guidance from his prophesied third Mage, who has yet to appear. But a chance meeting with a gang of fairy beasts forces him to call upon his mythic power once again, potentially exposing his family to the scrutiny of his enemies.”

    Kevin is trying to explain to his wife Mags what happened at the park last issue, how he sent their son Hugo away so that he could take care of them without worrying whether the kid would get hurt or not. He didn’t want to draw Excalibur but he had no choice. She’s not happy about this. She assumes the worst. As Kevin was called by name it’s clear this was no accident, he was targeted and now she figures they’re going to have to move. Again.

    Neither one of them realizes that their two kids, Hugo and Randa, are sitting just a few feet away listening to this. Time to go into ‘console the kids mode’ which his exactly what they do, reassuring the kids that they’re not going everything and that everything is fine. They all have dinner, the kids go to bed, and then they go to ‘check on it.’ In the attic above the garage, there’s a ‘Magic Crock’ brewing, surrounded by candles. Rags refreshes a few ingredients and then tells Kevin that it’s not quite ready yet – the protection filter she’s been working on for the last eight years since they had kids that should, if it works, keep mystic interference in their family life to a bare minimum. If they can wait out the week or two the brew needs to be complete, maybe they’ll be ok and not have to move.

    Back at the Acheron Insurance offices, the Umbra-Mother and her gracklethorns talk about their quest to find Matchstick. The insurance adjusters can’t find anyone by that name in the area and decide to put the word out through the mystic realms that the bounty on his head is now doubled in hopes of luring him out. And then Zofia, one of the gracklethorns, tells them that one of the pixie’s who saw him reported in (after which she ate it). She tells him that Matchstick has a son. The mother orders Sasha and Aleksi to continue their search for the Fisher King and to pose as humans. They oblige in the hopes that their hunt will yield what the Mother needs to usher in The Age Of Eternal Despair!

    The next morning Mags runs some errands and Randa is at pre-school and with Hugo off for the day, Kevin takes him for lunch where the kid, more observant than either parent realizes, asks some pertinent questions. They hit the card store on the way home and then, well, maybe Kevin and his family aren’t as safe as he’d hoped after all.

    Picking up exactly where the first issue left off, this second chapter furthers the plot nicely. We get more on Kevin’s home life, a good basis for the humor that the series has always used so well, and it does a good job of grounding him. Any middle aged guy with a family is going to find a lot of what he deals with here very easy to relate to, magic creatures and spells notwithstanding. It’s clever, and in many ways it feels very real in that a big part of Mage’s appeal has always been the fact that Kevin is, for all intents and purposes, a regular guy. Wagner seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on that aspect of the series this time around, maybe even more than he did in the last two runs. At the same time, we’re left wondering just what the Umbra-Mother is really up to with her quest to find The Fisher King and usher in the Age Of Eternal Despair and what part Matchstick will inevitably play in all of this. The fact that she now knows he has a son isn’t going to make things any easier for him, the ending of this issue makes that painfully clear. And as you’d expect if you’re at all familiar with Wagner’s work, the art is once again top notch. Expressive, slick, just generally really cool looking in the way that his artwork has always been. Brennan Wagner’s coloring adds some nice touches to the line work, and we get some really interesting creature design work to gawk at in the last half of the book.

    Some things are worth waiting for. Mage is one of those things – but it’s nice that the wait is over. Bring on issue #3!





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