Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mystic Arcana: Magik

Louise Simonson & Steve Scott

Ritual of the Sphinx (Part One)
David Sexton & Eric Nguyen

The first comic in Marvel's Mystic Arcana crossover event arrived in stores this past week, a series of four books that focus on four mystical members of the Marvel Universe, much like the Annihilation event of cosmic characters last year. Each issue will be tied to one another via the Ritual of the Sphinx story, which bookends each issue, and will focus on one of four artifacts being collected by sorcerer Ian McNee. In Mystic Arcana: Magik, we see Illyana Rasputin, ruler of Limbo, track down the Sword of Bones for an evil sorcerer who is holding a descendant of Storm hostage in Ancient Egypt. There are several references here to the Magik and Storm mini-series from the 1980's where Illyana is basically raised by Belasco and saved by an alternate version of Storm. In Mystic Arcana: Magik, in good old convoluted X-Men fashion, the story also picks up from the old New Mutants series, issue #32, when her and Dani Moonstar were trapped briefly in Ancient Egypt. The events in Mystic Arcana seem to have gone on without Dani's knowledge, as not to effect continuity. Yes, it's all very confusing and elaborate for a silly story in the end. Writer Louise Simonson constructs a story bogged down with a mythology nobody cares about, spouting out names of demons and goddesses that have nothing to do with the story at hand, but are meant to sound impressive and "magicky," but ultimately bog down an already boring plot. In the end, the Sword of Bones is returned to its rightful place, where Ian McNee recovers it in the overarching story, leading readers to wonder why the story with Illyana Rasputin was even included if it didn't effect anything in Mystic Arcana and didn't even demonstrate the power of the artifact that McNee was so determined to collect. Basically, this is a mess. The creators try to make the story seem cool, like it has ramifications throughout the Marvel Universe and whatnot, but ultimately, it's all flash with no substance, and little entertainment value to boot. The only thing I really liked about this issue was the cover by Marko Djurdjevic. If this review isn't enough to deter you from reading more on the Mystic Arcana, watch for three more forthcoming one-shots focusing on Sister Grimm, Scarlet Witch and Black Knight, respectively. F

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