Solomon and the gang vs Nazi (ish) magicians: sounds like a showdown alright…
These two chapters were a bit of a tale of two halves, but did a rather good job of demonstrating the twin strengths of Magi: dialogue driven, clever story writing and out and out epic action.
In this case, I definitely preferred the latter. I’m just not sure I care about Sheba’s plight much, but seeing Solomon and co lay into the bad guys in 219 was pretty damned cool.
But let’s start with 218 -which focused on Sheba’s interaction with her new feline friend Momo, which led to her crushing self-guilt at the realisation her past actions had caused so much grief. It was all a little drawn out, if I’m honest, but served a purpose and certainly carried on the good work of humanising her character begun last chapter. Even so, it hardly hit me hard emotionally – ok, the issues of the cat-things were sad, I suppose, but without much to build on or connect with it felt a bit put upon.
If Sheba is Gyokuen (and I’m still on the fence about that, albeit wavering…), watching this fledgling empathy devolve will be interesting; if she isn’t, it is still good character development, but it all felt a little wordy. What was perhaps more fun was that Solomon remained pretty brutal in his tough-love approach, not sparing Sheba’s feelings on his attempts at consoling her. She was evil, and he made sure she knew it – but also that she could be saved. How fitting.
The end of the chapter, though, was really sweet. The Ku-klux-magicians appearing in their rather maginificent looking flying machines (ridiculous, but it happened) with an army of enslaved monsters looked great, as did Solomon and co’s reaction.
Turns out they were all once like Sheba, trapped in various towers (the precursors to labyrinths, it would seem…), but were now ready to utilise the power of the staves for good. There was something a little demonic in all of this – a dark origin for the groups powers, now turned for good – and I really dig that. And the stave certainly weren’t just for show, either, as Solomon and the gang laid into the attacking magicians with some serious force.
Yep, Solomon and his crew are pretty tooled up. The staves they wield seem to act much like djinn weapon equips, allowing the magician to channel a portion of Illah’s power through their own bodies by using the staves and towers as an intermediary. That’s really no surprise, and it is clear that such a power system would come to be repeated in Magi’s world through the conquering of Labyrinths and the taming of Djinn. Indeed, in some ways the 72 staves must still play a part in the present magic given that they seem to have survived (either fully, or transfered somehow into the power of the dungeons) in the present world.
It was really cool to finally get to see the kind of abilities that Solomon can/could unleash, namely control of gravity. Or at least, that’s how his wormholey/time-space bending powers looked to me. At times the art was a little confusing as he spent several pages lobbing black holes at people, but you can’t knock the sense of spectacle.
There was also a bit of a brilliant reveal in all of this: a hint at just how Solomon might have gone about creating a whole god-damned world. That sort of space-time tint to his powers goes some way to explaining how we was able to create the present world – or, at least, to send people down to it – as his powers seem to also comprise an element to their attacks that to me appears not a million miles from a wormhole. Applying what we saw in this chapter to a grander scale, his creation of Magi’s world seems possible, if still massively difficult.
As Sheba noted, Solomon is pretty darn god-like – and on the balance of this chapter’s evidence, it’s hard not to see something of the divine in his capabilities.
219 ended on a bit of a mini-bombshell, too: that Solomon is the son of David, the leader of the Ku-klux-magicians. Reinforcing the ‘solomon-isn’t-all-fairydust-and-rainbows’ vibe, it was a cool twist and one that I hope to see pay off in a father-son throwdown sometime soon.
- Basically, 219. That action was epic, awe-inspiring and overall brilliant realised on the page. A little confusing at times, sure, but come on… A god-like being wielding space-time like a hammer? I can’t complain…
- 218 eventually came good, but felt a bit mired in dialogue at times. I feel a good deal of what was actually imparted could have been done so through art, and didn’t care a great deal for Sheba’s predicament.
Overall – A tale of two chapters: 218 was all dialogue; 219 all action. If pushed, I’d say that while 218 felt a little slow, 219 more than made up for it. A combined score would be a bit unfair on the latter, so I’ll break it down. 218 gets a passable 6/10 while 219 tears it up with a tasty 8.5/10.