Rise of the Magi #0 by Marc Silvestri, Sumeyye Kesgin, and Jasen Smith is a comic book made available for Free Comic Book Day from Image and Top Cow Productions, Inc. Before I get into my deeply divided thoughts on this book, I’ll tell you the basic premise.
Before I do, though, it must be noted that the cover of the book has nothing to do with the interior story. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Asa is a young man in…a fantasy world somewhere?…who longs to do something meaningful with his life besides being a carpet repair boy. His father, of course, berates him for being a dreamer instead of being practical, even going so far as to tell him to stop reading comic books because it’s “a waste of time!”
So one day Asa decides to get on the magic carpet of one his father’s clients and fly over to this palace of Spell Guards, where his brother works as a guard. Guess what Asa wants to be instead of a carpet repair boy? If you guessed a Spell Guard, congrats! You get 50 useless internet points.
Using an invisibility spell, Asa sneaks in and discovers that this magical orb of…magic, is in peril, because the guards guarding it are now ex-guards. That’s right, they’re either dead or dying, and Asa’s brother tells him to get out before the bad guys find him.
Ok, how do I sort out my feelings towards this book?
It’s not…BAD. But it’s not fantastic, either. Then again, I’m not the target audience for this book.
Here’s the deceptive thing – you would NEVER guess the story is about a young boy named Asa and a magical world by looking at the cover of this book. Who thought this cover was a good idea? It tells nothing of the story inside. The character on the cover isn’t even anywhere else in the book! This would be a great poster, but don’t put it on a comic book unless you’re making a story about wizards who use spray painting for spells or something. I was expecting that! And that’s not what I got.
Instead, what I got was an alright but worn-out story about a “misfit” boy who wants something greater and gets more than he expected in the realm of magic and shenanigans. Also, a parent who berates his son about reading comic books? I feel like that’s the clichè-est of clichè’s to ever clichè.
Ok, so I’ve said all the things I DON’T like about this. What do I like about it?
Well the art is solid. Once you get past that the interior art does not match the cover art (seriously, whoever made that executive decision needs slapped), the art inside the book is serviceable. Dare I say, it’s even good. The colors really pop and all the characters have unique designs. The layouts of the pages are even fun, but not complex enough to lose the reader. I really appreciate how easily readable this comic is, once I got past the story.
(I should note though, that I should NEVER have to say something like that. The story needs to be compelling at all times).
I would recommend this for any reader younger than 13 or 14. This book is really more for them than it is for me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to write a comic about wizards who use spray paint magic…