Whenever a new comic book series debuts, the premiere issue plays such a huge role. It is the writer’s hope, and goal, to get you hooked, or at least interested enough to check out the next issue. The artist has to bring their A-game and give you something visually stimulating to your eyes. Likable characters, appealing or unique storyline, even nicely laid out panels. All this and more is what comic book creative teams must endure with a title’s development. So whether your first issue is filled with backstory, character development, overall storyline synopsis, or whichever route you choose, you’ve completed it and now are working on issue two.
The second issue (sometimes third), just as in a new television series, can truly make or break your title. If you have someone curious enough to give it another try, that next issue will decide which side of the fence he falls – either on board for future issues or a lost customer.
My first exposure to the fresh, raw talent that is Andrez Bergen was 2 1/2 months ago when the opportunity came across my desk (so to speak) to do a review for this series called Magpie that would be debuting in an Australian comic magazine. You can find that review here. Shortly thereafter, I reviewed Bergen’s Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat #1 and was blown away.
This second issue of Magpie, which is beginning to feel more episodic in nature (and that’s a good thing) was more of a solo story, as 3D Man was absent throughout. Granted with the series confined to eight pages, it’s all about getting the most within those pages. What I liked about this issue focusing on just one character is that there is time to build that individual, tell more of their story, and lay the groundwork for a future meeting between Magpie and 3D Man. Plus, I am excited to see more of this potential threat seen in the last few panels. Looks like things could get messy.
This issue has us beginning to see a lighter, fun side of Magpie with little, thoughtful inside jokes in the story. Gives her character. When I got to page four, I was floored by artist Frantz Kantor’s work. To recreate the famous M.C. Escher work “Relativity” (you know, the one with the twisted stairs) and incorporate your character and story, you my friend just raised the bar.
This is a solid second outing for the creative pairing of Bergen and Kantor. This action noir piece has all the right components for a successful spy thriller: action, suspense, relatable characters, intense moments, espionage, and good, strong character development… all within only two 8-page issues! I haven’t read anything else found within the Australian comic magazine Oi! Oi! Oi!, but i’ll make a bold prediction and say this HAS to be their strongest asset. Continue on, Andrez and Frantz! I’m sure the best is yet to come, and that is exhilarating to hear!
PopCultHQ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Be sure to check out the Magpie website for more on this series, artwork, and its creators Andrez Bergen and Frantz Kantor. Magpie #2 debuts May 15, 2016 in Oi! Oi! Oi!.
More info on Magpie from writer Andrez Bergen:
Magpie is done very much in the spirit of, well, The Spirit – taking on the concept that people like Will Eisner and Tarpé Mills did of telling complete stories and off-beat vignettes, with a sense of humor as much as a nod to noir, over 8-page installments. While an homage to the comics we love from the golden age to contemporary ones, it also carries with it a pastiche/deconstruction of multi-media pop-culture sensibilities, and the odd fracture of the fourth wall.Along the way, within each tale, there are nods and winks at everything – from Roy Thomas to Ghost in the Shell, M.C. Escher wrestling Russ Manning’s Magnus, Robot Fighter, and on into mass-media current affair programs.