I have never been the biggest fan of Mark Millar’s comics, although I have enjoyed some over the years. In many ways he feels to me like the comic-book equivalent of Michael Bay. You know what you’re getting when with his work. Pick up a Mark Millar comic-book, especially one of his creator-owned titles, and you’re going to get a lot of over-the-top action, with a lot of cool-sounding dialog peppered with explicit language and sexual situations. But I was intrigued when he signed a deal with Netflix specifically to develop new comics for the purpose of them being adapted into TV shows or movies for Netflix. Frankly, many of his comics came off like thinly-veiled movie pitches anyway, so this sort of deal seemed right up his alley. This new series is the first original title created by Millar under this deal, alongside artist Oliver Coipel, so I figured I’d check it out.
The issue opens with a man and woman having sex in bed. A couple of mysterious figures, one wearing a tri-corner hat, are monitoring them from a nearby building. The tri-corner hat man is able to posses the young son of the man and woman, and has that son stab his father through the head with a kitchen knife.
That’s quite an opening.
We learn that the man was a member of a secret centuries-old organization of people with magical powers, referred to as wizards, who covertly protect the world from magical threats. These powers, and membership in the organization, are apparently hereditary, passed on from one generation to the next. We meet the Moonstone family, lead by patriarch Leonard, who works as a famous stage-magician. He has a daughter named Cordelia, also a profession magician, albeit on a smaller scale, who also gets an impressive opening, when she escapes from being handcuffed in the back of a police car while it’s driving on a freeway. And he has two sons, Regan who is said to own a nightclub, and a Gabriel, who was initially following in his father’s footsteps until something went wrong years ago, which cost the life of his daughter, Rosetta, and since then he has turned his back on his family’s ways, rejecting any participation in magic and living a simple domestic life with his wife, Louise.
During the funeral for the murdered man, we meet a masked woman referred to as Madam Albany, whom Regan suspects is behind the murder, and is planning many more. Regan attempt to convince Gabriel to rejoin the family, at least for protection until this is over, but Gabriel refuses. And in the finale we meet another wizard, who is also eliminated due to another creative use of magic.
I must admit that as I was reading the issue, I almost couldn’t help but envision it playing out in live action in my head. I don’t know if that was Millar’s intent while writing it, or just my own bias talking. But I could “see” this as a Netflix series, complete with the unnecessary nudity that we get in one particularly jarring scene. But the pacing for this story was perfect, and it revealed just enough information about each character, as they were being introduced, as to hook the reader and make you want to stick around to learn more. And Coipel’s artwork fit the tone perfectly, giving it the look of a horror comic, without being overwhelming. I initially intended to give this issue 4 stars, but after reading it a 2nd I actually found myself enjoying it even more. I think Millar has a winner here.
Chacebook rating: 5 STARS