Previously: The Magic Order #3.
Following the pivotal events of the previous issue, this month’s The Magic Order had a lot to live up to, and it comes just about as close as possible to living up to those very high expectations.
Alright, so we’re gonna get right to spoilers from last month’s issue, so avert your eyes if, for some reason, you’re reading this review without having read The Magic Order #3. Last month, we watched as The Venetian not only killed Leonard Moonstone, the Moonstone family’s patriarch, but Leonard was torn to pieces; in a way that guaranteed there was no saving him. Following that, this issue sees Leonard’s adult children–Cordelia, Regan, and Gabriel–deal with their father’s death and try to figure out how to end this fight with Madame Albany.
But first, we learn something new–or, at least, something I don’t think we knew already–about the magical abilities in this world: they include time travel. Magic can really do damn near everything–well, except put Leonard back together, I guess. What gives us this new information is a very fun scene with a few Moonstone ancestors; it includes some great character design. Something else we learn about this magical world is the existence of The Abington Hotel, which is very similar in concept to The Continental Hotel in John Wick. Lastly, as predicted, the prodigal son (Gabriel) gets to show off a bit.
It’s weird because this issue basically consists of four scenes; I mean, spoiler alert, but the above paragraph is pretty much it. That’s not necessarily bad, of course; in fact, they’re all nice scenes, and I quite enjoy long scenes in comics. It’s just, this does not quite feel like an issue in a six-issue limited series. The main thing is that Gabriel is using his magic again, and I don’t even consider that a spoiler because the previous issue made it very clear that was going to happen in this issue. So, really, this issue was mostly world-building. That’s okay, but at the same time, that makes this the weakest issue so far, by default. The previous issues have just had more in them.
It’s far from bad, obviously. The plot does still move forward, and the world-building is solid world-building, and the artwork continues to be stellar. There are some fantastic artistic moments throughout the issue. Olivier Coipel and Dave Stewart continue to pull out phenomenal drama from these characters’ faces, particularly the seething anger behind Regan’s eyes as he talks to Madame Albany, knowing she’s the reason his father is dead. The action shots are a lot of fun here, and I continue to love the facial reactions of people who’ve just encountered young Cordelia; I still would read the hell out of a limited series just about her and the misadventures she got in as a child.
We have two issues left in this limited series, and those issues are setting up to both be knockouts. We still have no idea how the Moonstones plan to defeat Madame Albany and The Venetian, other than Gabriel just being a badass, so it’s sure to be fun finding out how we eventually get to that point, assuming that’s where we’re headed. I mean, at this point, it’s possible the Moonstones don’t win; I suppose anything is possible when magic is involved–except saving Leonard; he’s gone gone.