In a world where atheism is more prominent than ever, one might imagine religion is magic in many people’s minds. Top Cow is releasing a new series that plays off that sentiment called Magdalena, which hits shelves this week. Is it good?
Magdalena #1 (Top Cow)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
The Magdalena has always defended the world from demonic evil, empowered by the blood of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene in her veins. But when a brush with death leaves her gravely wounded, Patience decides to seek out the next in the bloodline and train her replacement. The replacement, meanwhile, is having enough trouble with finding her purpose even without the whole holy- warrior gig.
Why does this book matter?
This issue explains a great power tied to Jesus Christ that’s quite clever and puts a bit of a spin on Christianity, especially since the protagonist is not allied with the Vatican anymore. If you’re at all interested in religion you might want to check this out just to see a superhero-like spin on the subject matter.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Love the upside down cross.
Writers Tini Howard and Ryan Cady open this book well, thrusting the reader into a conflict between some bad dudes calling up a demon and Magdalena rushing in to save the day. This scene plays against expectations with a surprise twist that introduces the central conflict well. The time for a new Magdalena is upon us, but is the bearer of this power ready to let go? This segues well into the introduction of–presumably–the next bearer who is an atheist teen who has an overbearing mother who wants her child to go to church already. It’s the type of character many teens today can relate to and the dialogue helps convey that.
The rest of the comic moves along at a good pace and includes a brief intro to who the villain is, sets up Magdalena’s meeting with the teenager and even opens up the big picture threat. All in all this script has a lot to take in making it well worth your dime.
The art by Christian DiBari has a gritty style that’s a bit muddy, but suits the demonic scenes nicely. It also suits the dark place Magdalena is going through as she realizes she may have been a hero for too long, but doesn’t want to give it up. There are some gross visuals in this issue from a bleeding tattoo to vomit drenched down a person’s face. One of the best panels includes a wicked bit of gore that’ll make you rub your neck for days just thinking about it!
Cool costume too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a perfectly good issue, but it does so with the same tropes and cliches you’ve seen in heroic tales before it. Aside from the clever use of religion, this doesn’t feel that far removed from hundreds of other stories you’ve seen before as heroes must retire and new trainees take their place.
Is It Good?
This is a good first issue that’s wrapped in a clever take on a religious hero living in a world of non-believers. It may revolve around a premise we’ve seen a thousand times before, but it’s well rendered and may just suck you in.
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