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Magic: The Gathering #1
By Garth the Geek
February 3, 2012 - 21:50

IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Matt Forbeck
Penciller(s): Martin Coccolo
Inker(s): Martin Coccolo
Colourist(s): Aleksi Briclot
$3.99 US

There's a line in this comic that really stood out for me: “Plan B's murderously short on details.” It stood out for me because it also summed up the story perfectly: it's murderously short on details.

“Magic: The Gathering #1” is a comic only players of MTG might find interesting, and this isn't due to the story as much as it's due to the inclusion of the card 'Treasure Hunt' (Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card, then put all cards revealed this way into your hand.) The card itself isn't unique, but it has new artwork and may prove a 'must-have' for die-hard fans of the game.

Aside from the card, the comic has very few merits. As I mentioned, the story is “murderously short on details”, and can be summed up in one sentence: “Dack Fayden steals an artifact that gives him a clue as to who destroyed his hometown; he ventures forth to seek revenge.” There, I just saved you $3.99.

One of the problems with an undertaking like “Magic: The Gathering: The Comic” is that, over the years, the cards have managed to create a rich history and lore through their flavour texts. The texts are short, concise, and at times, quite humorous. To date, my favourite is still that of the Hill Giant: “Fortunately, hill giants have large blind spots in which a human can easily hide. Unfortunately, these blind spots are beneath the bottoms of their feet.”

The comic, unfortunately, captures little of the game, aside from a few location names or the occasional creature. In fact, the comic did so much wrong that I'm going to break it down into categories.

STORY: The main character, Dack Fayden, spends the first 13 pages just running away, and for a comic that's only 22 pages long, that's quite a bit. Fifty-nine percent of the comic, in fact. When he finally escapes, he gets healed, goes home and inspects the artifact he stole from the Cult of Rakdos. He discovers it has a link to some traumatic event in his past. And that's it. No sub-plots. No intrigue. Just a quick-talking thief who spends fifty-nine percent of the comic running away from various people. There's literally no action, only REACTION. I haven't read something this simple (and boring) in quite a while.

WRITING: The writing was mediocre. I mean, taking what could have been a two-page flashback and turning it into a 22-page comic doesn't necessarily spell failure, but when you pad out a story this much, you need to infuse it with some pretty darn good writing and character development. Sadly, this wasn't the case.

CHARACTERS: Dack Fayden is (what has become of late) the stereotypical thief, with long hair, goatee, stubble and, it would seem, a certain mystery surrounding him. He's also fairly uninteresting, which renders any mystery surrounding him moot, as I just don't care enough to keep reading. The only thing going for Dack is that, should he ever lose his job in the comic, he could always become a stand-in for the Prince of Persia...

The other characters – and there were only three – are even more shallow. Alessa appeared for two pages, and seemed to have just one purpose: to show the reader that Dack is a lady's man. Fadka appeared for four pages, and only to heal Dack, mend his clothes, and deliver the following line: “You're a HARD man to find.” (Oooooo, that means Dack is MYSTERIOUS and GUARDED...). Vaclav Nosek appeared for one page, and only to remind Dack how the artifact he stole was dangerous, and to offer to sell it for him. (Note that Vaclav will probably betray Dack in a future issue).

ARTWORK: The artwork was actually decent.

Overall, unless you're a die-hard Magic fan who NEEDS the card included with the comic, do yourself a favour and buy something else.

Rating: 3/10

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