I honestly am not too familiar with Mandrake the Magician. Other than a few appearances in a couple of comics I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve ever read a solo comic or story of his. It’s just not a character that has really ever interested me. But, with a new take on the classic character from a publisher I wouldn’t expect it, I thought I’d dive in and give the new world a shot. And I’m glad I did. Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1 is a solid start that has me coming back for more and see what’s next.
Written by Erica Schultz the comic introduces Mandragora Constanza Terrado Paz, a high school girl whose mother was a friend of Mandrake the Magician and has moved into his house. While learning magic she also must deal with the usual high school issues like deciding on college.
Schultz delivers a debut that’s part superhero secret identity and slice of life high school student. Its a fantastic introduction to this new take on the classic character. And, what’s even smarter, it doesn’t jettison what has come before. Schultz builds off of Mandrake’s legacy and history and uses that as part of the drive and an obstacle for the main character.
Mandy isn’t there yet starting to learn magic and still fumbling. Spells don’t work quite like she’d like and aren’t simple to pull off. This is a junior superhero in the making and in many ways feels like that classic origin story for so many classic superheroes. Mandy makes mistakes and uses her powers for mundane things like getting dressed and getting ride of teenage funk. And she fumbles at simple spells like trying to open her locker door.
And like those classic stories, Schultz delivers every day experiences so many can relate to. Mandy is bullied by a rival high school girl. She also is being pressured by her mom to go to college, and do the things colleges look for like volunteering. It’s simple details that makes a comic go from bland to great. She’s not perfect and we know as readers she’ll have to grow into her role fumbling along the way. This is the beginning of a heroes journey with a character who’s likeable and we want to see succeed and what she decides to do.
Diego Giribaldi delivers the art along with Ramon Bunge on color, J.P. Massa on backgrounds, and Martin Casanova on lettering. There’s a lot here to point to and stands out. From Mandy’s purple hair with shaved sides to clothing that emphasizes a bit hippier silhouette, there’s thought put into the characters, their surroundings, and the world. There’s also some fantastic focus on Mandy and her facial reactions which really enhance her situations and what she’s thinking.
I honestly wasn’t expecting a lot from Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1. It’s not meant as an insult but it’s just not a character I’ve been interested in. Red 5 Comics has published some solid work though, so I had hope I’d be surprised. And, I was. Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1 is a fantastic start and a great update to the classic character delivering superhero elements with your classic teenage drama. It’s a series that intrigued me when it was announced and having now read the first issue, I can’t wait for the next one.
Story: Erica Schultz Art: Diego Giribaldi
Color: Ramon Bunge Backgrounds: J.P. Massa Letterer: Martin Casanova
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Red 5 Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review