‘The Magic Order 2’ #2 continues to build a new corner of this fascinating supernatural world of sorcerers, warlocks and magic folk. We get more of the salty Kevin Mitchell as well as the introduction of the charismatic but damaged Francis King. Plus, more on the machinations of the Romanian tracksuited bad guys too. A good deal of plot with the promise of action to come. From Mark Millar, Stuart Immonen, Sunny Gho and David Curiel.
It doesn’t take long for The Magic Order 2 #2 to get up and running as we catch up with Cordelia and the gang, who have taken a trip to Chelmsford to track down an osedax. In reality a sea-based creature that is otherwise known as a “zombie worm” or “bone worm”, in this magic induced version of Britain, it is a far greater and more horrific threat, even if it is not seen. Although its savage aftermath is. The osedax is a threat that has been sent to this sleepy, affluent part of England by unknown agents and one the Magic Order want to know all about. Which leads them all quickly to the very contrasting scene of Soho, and the world of new character, Kevin Mitchell, based on Bob Hoskin’s Harold Shand in the Long Good Friday. And with the potty mouth to match. And in knowing this, I cannot help but hear Hoskin’s gravelly cockney accent in everything Mitchell says. And now you know this, will you too? Writer Mark Millar certainly seems to be digging deep with the research and references informing this second series.
Also new to this series is recovering alcoholic, Francis King, a bewitcher (clearly another real-world Easter egg, as Francis X King was an obscure 20th century occult writer) who we will no doubt find out more about across the rest of the series. But, before that, we get another scene change, keeping artist Stuart Immonen on his toes and knee deep in photo references I would imagine. I must say, he creates a stunning vista of England; the leafy Chelmsford, the seedy nightlife of Soho as well as the majesty of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster, where we do learn a good deal more about King’s destructive behaviour in a self-confessed monologue to Cordelia atop Big Ben. I’ve seen far too many American artists get England so, so wrong. Of for that matter any number of foreign climes wrong which can be very jarring for the reader, but Immonen clearly has an eye for precision and perfection and only helps sell the story even more and keep the reader focused on the important matter of the unfolding narrative. I couldn’t think of a better replacement for Olivier Coipel than Immonen. Plus, when Netflix do come to produce The Magic Order as a TV series, all the storyboard artists need to do is pick up this book and the previous volume. It’s all there on the page for them.
Of course, as readers we already know who’s probably behind the zombie worms; the Romanian magicians we met last issue. As a side note, I have to ask what is it with the new stereotype in comic-related properties of the Eastern European gangster and his love for tracksuits? We got them in Disney’s Hawkeye series and her again now. It’s a worrying trend that seems to detract from otherwise creative choices. C’mon, comic book folks, surely we can do better than this, right?
But, I digress.
With so many scenes and differing tones, colour artists Sunny Gho and David Curiel contribute immensely to these changes in time, place and atmosphere. Soho is both dark and colourful, with neon lights wherever you look, while their colouring of the darker, heavier scenes of Romania help foreshadow the coming horror. And it really is horrific what occurs here, albeit hinted at on the front cover. A real shocker that even this experienced and hardened veteran reader didn’t see coming. Nor is it the only surprise of this issue either.
The plot thickens and we learn that there is often two sides to every story in an issue that travels far and wide and delivers another dynamic cliff-hanger that promises a level of action that simply could not be included in this world-building, character establishing issue. Smartly written and beautifully realised The Magic Order 2 #2 is out Wednesday 1st December from Image Comics.