PopCultHQ Comic Book Review: MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #1 from Image Comics

PopCultHQ received a review copy of Mage: The Hero Denied #1 from Image Comics. Available August 16th, 2017, the creative team for this series features writing and art from Matt Wagner, colors by Brennan Wagner, and lettering from Dave Lanphear.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…


Writer: Matt Wagner
Artist: Matt Wagner
Colorist: Brennan Wagner
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artist: Matt Wagner

In Shops: August 16, 2017
SRP: $3.99


This first full-sized issue begins 10 years after the climax of THE HERO DEFINED and finds the everyman hero Kevin Matchstick at an unexpected point in his life. It’s been some time since he’s utilized his powers as the reincarnated Pendragon, wielder of the mystical weapon Excalibur. Despite his reluctance to fulfill what two different Mages have declared as his destiny, dark forces have gathered to once again force Kevin into action. Throughout these events, Kevin keeps hoping for the same mystical guidance that has mentored him in the past. “Who is the third Mage?!”

MAGE: THE HERO DENIED will be a 15-issue limited series climaxing in a double-sized finale. Newly repackaged editions of the previous books from the trilogy—THE HERO DISCOVERED and THE HERO DEFINED—will be released over the course of the new series. MAGE has been a perennial favorite with old and new readers alike for nearly three decades.

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Mage: The Hero Denied #1


Matt Wagner’s writing is superb as always. Mage is one of his most celebrated works (among others like Grendel, Sandman: Mystery Theatre, etc.) so this is something of a return to form for him. But this story is like Hero Discovered and Hero Defined, another chapter in the adventures of Kevin Matchstick and that makes it different too. But in this case, that different element will make it enjoyable for new readers and returning readers.


Matt Wagner’s art triumphs once more. He’s been honing and perfecting his craft for decades, so there is not a thing wrong with it. The art depicts a Kevin Matchstick who is still the same old Kevin, and more new and freaky things in the world of magic for readers to discover.

Brennan Wagner’s colors are excellent. He chooses all the right shades for the monsters and the world Kevin is living in right now. His shading is excellent; it doesn’t crowd the rest of the art or colors out, it blends smoothly and perfectly.

Dave Lanphear nails the lettering. Readers will hear the grit and determination in Kevin’s voice, feel fear creep along their spines when the monsters and creatures speak. His work is much welcomed to the Mage series and it’s clear he fits in right at home working alongside Matt Wagner.

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

This has been a long time coming. Mage: The Hero Defined was published from 1997-1999. It has been over 18 years since the second installment in Kevin Matchstick’s adventures was published. Now, readers will finally get to see it. The third act, and with it, the final curtain and bow for Kevin Matchstick, the reborn Arthur Pendragon. It’s something no one will want to miss out on.

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

5 Out of 5 Stars

MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #1 can be pre-ordered on ComiXology
and available at your local comic shop and online retailers on August 16th, 2017!



Writer: Matt Wagner
Artist: Matt Wagner
Colorist: Brennan Wagner
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artist: Matt Wagner
Published: September 13, 2017
Diamond ID: JUL170846

Legendary creator MATT WAGNER continues the hotly anticipated third and final volume of his epic fantasy trilogy with MAGE: THE HERO DENIED. Years after readers last saw him, everyman hero Kevin Matchstick has all but abandoned his role as the reincarnated Pendragon, wielder of the mystical weapon Excalibur. But when dark forces reunite to threaten those he loves, he finds he must once again unleash the ancient power that he alone can command. Yet drawing Excalibur brings additional risks by further exposing him to his gathering enemies. Can Kevin stave off the supernatural dangers that pursue him…or will it cost him everything he holds dear?

MAGE: THE HERO DENIED is a 15-issue limited series climaxing in a double-sized finale. The new series skips a scheduled release next month in order to make way for the second of two volumes that newly repackage the classic first book of the MAGE trilogy, THE HERO DISCOVERED. THE HERO DENIED will continue with issue three in November. Considered by many to be creator MATT WAGNER’s masterpiece, MAGE has been a perennial favorite with old and new readers alike for nearly three decades.

Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer- Matt Wagner






Colorist – Brennan Wagner






Letterer – Dave Lanphear






Publisher – Image Comics