Eye of Newt #1: A Magical Mystery Tour
A throwback to ’70s RPG games makes for a thickly clichéd first issue of Eye of Newt.
Eye of Newt
Writer/Artist: Michael Hague
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: June 18, 2014
Pick up Eye of Newt #1 today and see if you agree!
The fantasy laden Eye of Newt #1 from Dark Horse Comics harkens back to old Dungeons and Dragons game scenarios where dragons and wizards intertwine with riddled quests that seemingly go on forever.Here, the story of a boy named Newt centers on his quest to finally become a full-fledged wizard and engages in various fantasy adventure tropes seen many times over. Newt, sent on the task of retrieving a strong headpiece to adorn his staff, encounters magic rings, forests that feed on fears, troll-like creatures to guide him on his quest and more. There is nary a single platitude of fable left out. If writer and artist Michael Hague was attempting to pay homage to his fantasy forefathers, then we’ve found a winner.
Sadly, the writing felt confusing and muddled. So much happened to Newt in issue one that I wasn’t even sure what was in fact happening to him. It feels as if Hague, feeling the pressure of fitting his entire plot into a three issue limited series, tried to jam everything in all at once so nothing was forgotten. I am rather a big proponent of the phrase “kill your darlings” and “sometimes, less is more.” I think Hague overshot the mark here and should have allowed his beautiful art to take some of the weight off his dialogue. Instead, with all the heavy writing, Newt wasn’t truly a well-formed character. He bared very little back story and I struggled to even care for the young boy’s plight. It felt very much like flipping the channel and trying to jump in on a movie already halfway through the plot.
As I mentioned earlier, the illustrations were beautiful though somewhat dated, which may have been Hague’s purpose. The style reminded me of an Iron Maiden album cover in the Paul Di’Anno days. However, the panels creatively utilized the art style to create flames that licked at the edges of each frame and I could hear Robert Plant singing “The Battle of Evermore” with every turn of the page.
Ultimately this was valiant effort on Michael Hague’s part as he is both writer and artist on Eye of Newt. Perhaps issue two will allow for more show and less tell.
Kara is a sentient A.I. masquerading as a female comedian and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is programmed to enjoy Time Travel Sci-Fi , Lego building, cute puppies and donuts.