Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen’s The Magic Order Vol. 2, from Image Comics, conjures up an expansive and brutally violent magical world.
Author Mark Millar’s Millarworld stories are rarely small or self-contained; they go big, or they go home. The Magic Order Vol. 2 by Mark Millar, Stuart Immonen, Sunny Gho, and Clem Robins conjures up another wicked tale that puts its fallible characters in a massive world then puts them through the wringer in ways that would make George RR Martin blush.
The Magic Order Vol. 2 doesn’t spend too much time rehashing the events of the previous arc, trusting that the reader has done their homework. So the story kicks off with the introduction of a new character named Victor Korne, who seems committed to rattling the world of magic and bringing a bit of darkness into the fray. The Korne family also has some history with the Magic Order, so this becomes a lot more personal than strictly business. Elsewhere, Cordelia Moonstone is now the head of the Magic Order; however, she isn’t exactly taking to the role with enthusiasm. By her side de ella are her brother de ella, Regan, and former flame, Francis, who is struggling with some personal demons of his own. It’s a full-blown war between Korne and the Magic Order where there can be only one winner.
When it comes to distinctive storytelling, Millar embraces the darkness. In The Magic Order Vol. 2, Millar continues to pen a cast of characters that are flawed, damaged, and in a state of constant peril. No one is ever safe in a Millarworld tale, and a “Red Wedding” could be around the bend. Unlike the first volume of The Magic Order, this volume focuses more on actual magic. The Moonstone family drama becomes less important as the battle between good magic and evil magic takes center stage. Now that each character is established, the real fun can begin.
Bringing Millar’s words to life is the team of Immonen, Gho, and Robins. Even though The Magic Order Vol. 2 tells a violent story that explores dark and disturbing themes, the art never degenerates into an overzealously gory mess. Instead, Immonen displays the violence tastefully, even when characters are viciously decapitated by blasts of magic energy.
There’s a larger-than-life tone to the art and lettering. The creative team clearly understands the assignment at hand. Nothing about this story or the characters feels remotely small. This rich and vibrant world pops off the page. The detail in each panel merits revisiting, if only to see the amount of effort that went into the world-building.
The Magic Order Vol. 2 is more expansive than its predecessor. The new volume contains more action and eye-popping moments as the series finally finds its jogging. That said, there is a lingering feeling that Millar could have something more up his sleeve than him. It is easy to imagine the narrative continuing to push the boundaries even further. This might only be the second round of hors d’oeuvres in a five-course meal.
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