Zachary Clayton

Star Mage #1: Abducted by Space Wizards?

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Okay, I confess.  I probably would have checked this title out sooner or later.  But, I tend to stay away from graphic stories that feature adolescents in the role of the main protagonist, if for no other reason than, I assume the title is aimed at kids.  So, why bother, right?  Wrong.

Star Mage #1 cover via idwpublishing.com

Star Mage #1 cover via idwpublishing.com

Star Mage #1
Creator: JC De La Torre
Artist: Ray Dillon
Publisher: IDW
Release date: April 16, 2014

I learned to not take any graphic novel for granted, after passing up Locke & Key (Locke & Key TPB Vol. 01 Welcome To Lovecraft another IDW title) then having a friend come back with the first few volumes to let me read, and being totally blown away.  Star Mage starts out weird enough, all right.  With the opening page showing a kid, named Darien Connors, strung up to the top of a flagpole.  I mean the tippy-top of a flagpole! Terrifying right?  But that wasn’t even the interesting part.  The kid’s eyes were glowing, like he was going to explode with cosmic energy!  Okay, Star Mage, ya got me.  Now, I HAVE to keep reading.  The story goes on simple enough; a lonely, smart kid in school with an invisible weight on his shoulders, a cute girl who likes the smart kid, a bully or two who are jealous of the smart kid because he’s smart and the girl likes him.  We see that Darien’s father, was (is?) a hotshot astronaut, who loves his son very much, and saddens Darien when he announces he will be leaving on another mission for NASA.  You would think this mission will somehow lead to the “creation” of our new hero.  However, as the story unfolds, it’s not quite that simple.

I liked this first issue of Star Mage, and was left wanting more.  I felt the issue was a bit short, in part, because the story jumps around in time in order to bring us up to speed with where Damien is at the end of the issue.  And this created a good number of questions for me.  These Sorcerers are technically aliens, right?  Did they come from Earth originally?  Is his father still alive, and lost in space? (Haha, I couldn’t resist.)  Why do the other kids feel the need to pick on him?  What are those crazy lights flashing around, and out of, Darien?  Does he just manifest magical energy?  And, how is this kid calm enough to have manners, after being abducted by space wizards???  What do you think will happen?  My guess is his father comes back from space, and take up his sons’ tutelage.  Or maybe it won’t be his father, but another Sorcerer disguised as his father?  He’ll show up with something to say like: “Sorry, kid.  We killed your dad by mistake, but here are some cool powers and now you get to figure shit out all by yourself, and then go win us a war!  Peace!”  I’m very curious to see how this turns out.  And anybody’s guess is as good as mine, if you’re going solely by reading the first issue.

The artwork by Ray Dillon is good.  It’s not super flashy, and is pleasing to the eye, but still retains a good attention to detail.  I was pleased with the shout out to pop culture, by way of a shot we get of Darien’s bedroom.  That was neat.  I liked the coloring in this book as well.  It made me feel that this could have been a comic adaptation of a movie, with the lighting and all.  The creator, JC De La Torre, has an interesting new book out there with Star Mage, and I hope he does well.  It’s worth checking out, but you might want to wait until you can grab a few issues at a time.  That way, you get a longer read and aren’t left with the huge open ending that wraps up this first issue.

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