THE MAGIC ORDER 4 #3
Cordelia and Francis are trapped in a magical dimension a billion realities from Earth, where they learn the true origin of dear old Uncle Edgar. Meanwhile, renegade wizards reign supreme as they raise havoc back on Earth.
THE MAGIC ORDER 4 #3 follows Cordelia and Francis King as they are carted off to face the Wizard King of Kolthur…But hold on, isn’t uncle Edgar the Wizard King, you say? He was. Millar uses most of the issue to fill the reader in on the life of Edgar Seemus, from his messed up childhood ( this issue, like most of Millar’s stuff, is not for the faint of heart) to how he came to be the Wizard King of Kolthur, how it connects to The Magic Order and the connection to the Moonstone family themselves. It’s a tale of a man who gets lost in his own fantasy world and what happens when desperation and obsession invite dark forces into one’s life.
It’s not a happy story, but what it does very well is connect the dots for the reader (very much like the last issue) and fill in gaps in the story till now, sewing together the things Millar has already shown us and expanding on them as we learn the fate of the Moonstone child Perditus that was given to the people of Kolthur in exchange for keeping the mad wizard king here in our world. Watching how Millar takes concepts introduced in the previous series and expands them is fun. The idea of every fictional world in books being a real world and the imaginary worlds in those worlds being real (a concept explained in volume three, but one that’s been floating around since volume one) is the central premise as Edgar, obsessed with the fictional world of Kolthur he created, is tempted into dark and terrible magic that will ultimately spell tragedy for both our world and the world of Kolthur, until the Magic Order intervened, is a fantastic culmination of the idea. Millar reveals who the new wizard king is while bringing us back to earth as “Uncle Edgar” and his fellow prisoners in the Moonstone Castle painting try to fathom what Albany is up to. Still, it seems she is one step ahead of everyone. There’s also a reveal as we get to see the face of a character we have never seen till this issue.
Dike Ruan gets to do a little of everything about this issue visually. On the one hand, he gets to draw the tragic life of Edgar Seemus in our world, and on the other, he gets to draw the fantasy world of Kolthur in all its incredible barbaric beauty. There’s a push-and-pull contrast to this issue because of this. Ruan and colorist Giovanna Niro get to tell a very grounded story of a traumatic childhood. Adulthood lost to alcohol and obsession, but at the same time, this is contrasted with the fantastical elements of the world of Kolthur as Cordelia and Francis are filled in on Edgar’s history on their way to meet the Wizard King. Ruan plays with scale and tight paneling for intimate close-ups made to communicate emotional nuance one moment, then pulls back the next for massive action-filled scenes of magical destruction. At the same time, Niro lights these bold swings with a brilliantly mixed color palette that ranges from muted in our world to the brightest eldritch green and bold reds in Kolthur. There’s often a slightly skewed angle to Ruan’s panels which communicates the instability of the main focus of this issue, especially around Edgar. Niro’s use of color is worth noting; the coloring becomes more and more dramatic as the drama unfolds across the pages of the issue. There’s a Frazetta-like quality to the world of Kolthur which is, I think, as high a compliment as one can pay anyone drawing a fantasy world. This series continues to be something to be experienced through the great hands that bring Millar’s script to life.
This is a dark, unhappy but compelling installment in the series so far. It's a bleak but involving look at the character of Edgar Seemus balanced against the otherworldly fantasy world Cordelia and Francis King find themselves in. Millar cleverly uses the issue to stitch a near complete view of past events involving Edgar while keeping the central narrative moving forward and playing with concepts introduced before. Every visual aspect of the story is pulled off with masterful aplomb and this series remains one of the most visually stunning series currently running.
THE MAGIC ORDER 4 #3: The Downward Spiral Of Edgar Seemus
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10