Logo from The Magdalena © 2017 Top Cow

Guest Review: The Magdalena #1

Guest Writer: Christopher Bishop

Tini Howard, Ryan Cady – Writers
Christian Dibari -Artist
Mike Spicer -Colors

The Magdalena, illegitimate heiress of the bloodline of Christ and Mary Magdalene’s union; wielder of the Spear of Destiny, and champion against the dark machinations of Satan.  Top Cow and Image have been interjecting the Magdalena into the Darkness and Witchblade storylines since the late 1990’s.  Sadly, while the character is often full of hope and far from the darkest offering in the Top Cow line up, they all appear to have rather short life expectancies.

The current Magdalena, Patience has been the longest surviving Magdalena, and now at the age of 32, finds herself incapable of carrying out her duties.  Surviving by luck more than divine intervention it becomes necessary for her to find a way to pass on the spear once again to a woman of the right bloodline and temperament.

Panel detail of Magdalena #1 © 2017 Top Cow

Panel detail of Magdalena #1 © 2017 Top Cow

The narrative is very reminiscent of today’s more self-interested concerns.  It reflects a lot of the callous or perhaps numb nature exhibited by a portion of the youth today, and the authors do a great job of selling the disinterested youth.  It’s hard to write a character as both flighty, semi-pessimistic and yet still hopeful but Tini Howard and Ryan Cady do a good job of tapping this vein.  One could easily see this showing up on ABC Freeform or an episode of shadow hunters.  While not my chosen media to consume, it’s easy to acknowledge the pseudo-supernatural angsty young adult fiction movement is a strong one and is only increasing in popularity.

The art style is very loose without defined borders at times on characters.  There were very few wow moments from the art but it did its job well enough in conveying the action and the story progression.  The color work was bright and the panel staging full.  If anything, it was almost too bright in some places, which detracted from the overall dark undertones of the story.

With the introduction of a fourth possible Magdalena to the storyline, this is a great point to jump on at.  The story truly feels reminiscent of the darker narrative in The Darkness and Witchblade series and any fan of those comics will instantly find a reason to like this one after just a few pages.  As art is very subjective to the viewer, there are some that may like the looser style evident in this issue, though it is my fervent hope they tone down some of the bright color work to allow for more dread and Mignola style shadow work to play out in future offerings.

An interesting read for sure!

Keep Rolling them Bones,

Chris

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