Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mysterius the Unfathomable #1-6

Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Tom Fowler

When this series came out, starting last spring, I squarely ignored it. It got a lot of push at my comic store, but something about it caused it to never exactly catch my eye. It did get lots of positive press though, and I figured if I ever got the chance to grab it all in one go, either as a trade or as a set, I would. That chance came last week, and I'm quite thankful for it.

Mysterius is Zatarra and Zatanna done properly. It's the story of an old magician - the real kind - who kind of bumbles his way through life, never getting too caught up in things, either his surroundings or the consequences of his actions. As the series opens, he is conducting a seance for a rich New York society type, except the seance goes horribly wrong, and the guy's spirit gets left behind in Hell. It's not all a loss, as Mysterius gets a new assistant, or Delfi, as they're called, out of the bargain.

From there, the book diverges into a whirlwind tour of magic in Jeff Parker's world. We get witches covens, celebrity endurance magicians, and enchanted children's books. The writing of this comic is wildly inventive and funny, as Parker has people react to Mysterius in a variety of ways.

Fowler's art was probably the main reason why I didn't pick up the book in the first place, but it has grown on me quite a bit. At first, I was put off by the bulbous noses and generous paunches that abound in this comic, but Fowler's aesthetic really grew on me. The Dr. Seuss knock-off scenes are fantastic.

Wildstorm should be commended for publishing this type of work - a book that is never going to be a top seller, but that garners critical acclaim and improves the overall intelligence of their back catalogue.

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