Just in time to get my favorite month, holiday, and time of year off to a dazzlingly gloomy and gothic start comes the fourth issue of The Magic Order, in which we find the titular Order reeling from a major defeat and loss in the previous issue.
The Order’s advisor, Uncle Edgar, certain that the Moonstones and their allies cannot defeat Madame Albany and her powerful assassin in a head-on fight, urges a truce. But lest the touch of humanity that Albany showed in issue #3 fool anyone, her response to the Moonstones’ offer makes clear that this character is nothing if not ruthless and sinister. She may not be out to do something as clichéd as destroy the world, but she’s not about to compromise what she did set out to do. And make no mistake, what she set out to do will be full of death and mayhem, and she will relish the process.
As per usual protocol, I can’t get specific about any of the cool stuff that happens in this issue without readers wanting to put a hex on me for dropping spoilers, but suffice it to say that a certain character discovers a thrilling, newfound clarity that just may offer the key for the good guys to escape the bind they currently find themselves in.
Once again Olivier Coipel’s art will transport you and leave you drooling for more, and once again Dave Stewart’s magisterial coloring plays no small role in this. Whether it’s the disturbing but sumptuously gothic scene between the Moonstones and Madam Albany in a magic hotel (where, as with the Continental Hotel in John Wick, any breach of proper conduct will result in expulsion) or the rain-spattered aftermath of a Moonstone sibling’s battle with an extra-dimensional monster, Coipel and Stewart imbue each panel with a sensory palpability that makes lettered sound effects for things like storms, lightning, explosions, and bolts being shot out from magic wands unnecessary. The whole issue in fact, despite being full of action, only has one lettered sound effect for a somewhat negligible event.
As for Mark Millar, never mind the Netflix deal. I’m pretty sure that somewhere along the line this guy MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL to be able to write one spectacular issue, one spectacular series, after another.
Oh, and if you’ve been crushing on Cordelia, issue #4 will leave you feeling more smitten than ever. Not only does the rebellious escape artist come across in this issue as sadder yet more beautiful than ever, we also get to see an adorable side of her from childhood.
What praises can I sing about The Magic Order that I haven’t already sung in reviews of previous issues? At this point, my only complaint about this series is that it’s so good each issue feels way too short, and the month-long wait between issues, way too long. It is still my favorite comic of 2018, and given that we’ve reached October that isn’t very likely to change by year’s end.
If you haven’t yet checked out this series, seriously, please do so. It’s Halloween season, after all. You deserve a treat.