Can Science Solve Murder By Magic? Find Out In Dark Horse’s Ether Volume 1

by Brendan M. Allen

A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an inter-dimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. Maybe keeping the Real and the Abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.

Boone Dias is a scientist who is convinced that anything that appears magical is just science that has yet to be explored and explained. He is obsessed with applying logic to anything that appears remotely magical in order to suss out that scientific explanation. Boone can’t quite wrap his head around the fact that the only similarities between real magic and solid science are the myriad rules that govern each.

In a murder mystery that involves copper golems and magic bullets, Boone is tasked with solving an impossible crime in Agartha, The Ether’s capital city. Blaze, defender of the great city of Agartha and of all The Ether, has been assassinated. Boone will have his hands full trying to apply scientific principal to magical murder.

Matt Kindt is an amazing storyteller. The script flows so naturally that there is no moment of hesitation where the reader has to decide to invest. Magical snail taxis? Flying octopi? A giant lavender ape that dropkicks visitors between dimensions? It all plays, and plays so well, you don’t even question it.

David Ruben pulls art, color, and lettering duties. The layout and artwork are fantastic, but one of the things that really sells Kindt’s script is the coloring. It’s not so much that Earth’s palette is dull and grimy and Ether is bright and shiny. Light doesn’t even appear to behave under the same rules between realms.

Ether takes an age-old subgenre of detective fiction, the locked room mystery, and elevates it with science fiction and fantasy elements. I could have easily spent an entire review talking about any of the single elements that combine to make this a great book.

Ether Volume 1: Death of the Last Golden Blaze is published by Dark Horse Books and collects issues #1–#5, with more than twenty pages of concept sketches by David Rubin and notes by Matt Kindt. It is currently available for purchase, having been released 19 July 2017, at the price of $14.99.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It’s a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.