-This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
Guest Writer: Stonie Williams
Writer/Artist – Steve Skroce
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Letterings & Design – Fonografiks
“You know what’s the coolest thing about being Maestro? The badass upgrades.”
A crazed wizard murdered his father and all his siblings. The only thing that saved him was his exile years ago back to his homeworld, Earth. His mother brought him back to The Realms to claim his birthright. Now, as Maestro, Will is setting out to fix everything he found wrong with The Realms. Will’s been freeing slaves or taking down powerful tyrants. Nothing is beyond you when you’re the most powerful wizard in existence.
Will reunites with an old companion from his early days before his exile, Wren. Wren is an indentured apprentice to Rygol, one of Will’s father’s former advisers. First thing Will does is free Wren from Rygol’s service. Will takes Wren on a tour of sorts, showing her all the changes he’s making. Will tells her how he plans to continue to make The Realms a better place. While exciting and well-meaning as his plans are, Wren warns Will to take it slow. A place that has existed for eons and uses to certain power dynamics can’t change overnight. Not without resistance.
The 2nd issues can be a kind of gamble. There’s less leniency as there is with 1st issues. 1st issues come with expectations. You’re setting up a world and introducing characters. Readers tend to be a little less forgiving when it comes to 2nd issues. There’s still world building, character development, and plot movement that needs to happen. But readers want the story to be even more exciting and progress quicker than with 1st issues.
Skroce delivers big time. You get the same vibrant artwork and the jaw-dropping world that you saw in the 1st issue. The story jumps us a bit. The last issue leaves us (spoiler!) with Will and his mother returning to The Realms. This issue picks up with Will taking control. We get some wonderful flashbacks. They reveal Will to be the same sarcastic smooth talker throughout his life. You wonder if Will has done much growing up. He’s always been smart and kind, but I’m not sure his maturity level has increased any.
Again, Dave Stewart knocks it out of the park with the colors. Every character has their own unique palette that brings them to life. Skroce’s details and Stewart’s colors make this book seem like a world you could step right into it. Even the scenes that edge on gory have a beauty to them. If you’ve read my reviews before you know that I like characters to ‘act’. Expressions and attitude are abundant in this book. The body language is incredible.
As with the last book, there are some gory scenes, no real nudity this time. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone younger than teens. If The Walking Dead doesn’t bother you, then neither will this comic book. It’s a compelling story that I can’t wait to see more of. With the success of more Rated R films in the nerdy genres, I’d love to see Maestro turned into a film. HBO or Starz would kill with this story. Until next time, happy reading!