Power always comes at a price, whether you know it or not.
Magic. It’s a powerful force, the ability to fundamentally change the nature of the universe to suit your needs or wishes. It’s the power of the gods. This is the power granted to Iscariot who will stand as the guardian of the Empyr, where he and his master alone tend the power of the ancients. There is a high cost to be granted this power, to be bound to the obelisk that channels magic into the world. Most say that they would pay any price for such power, but what if you choose the cost for another?
S.M. Vidaurri has created a rich and powerful world, where a lone man seeks out a path to power without consequence. For most of the story, we are sure of his task, but the revelations of what he wishes to do, of where his power comes from and how he wants to pass it on, make the matter very gray, indeed. This is the kind of story that I feel has no black or white, where every decision can be justified in some way or another. I enjoy stories like this, because it allows for introspection and thought. I can see how every “bad” choice can be inspired by a righteous cause, and how some of the “good” ones from selfish and petty ideals, while others come from fear, doubt, and the loss of will. This is the kind of tale that will cause you to think and has moments that will horrify and delight. If you had the power to make the world right, should you?
The artwork for this graphic novel is gorgeous. Vidaurri’s work was seen in Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Witches series, and his style and the richness of the palette and tone are wonderful to behold. Having an almost watercolor feel, every image has an emotive soul, filling the world with ethereal beings that you get the sense stand in for larger concepts. No character stays within their lines; they meld and merge with each other and the world around them, reinforcing the theme of no person’s actions happening in a vacuum, that we are all tied together and that life is always fluid. The gentle delicacy of the images often plays at odds with the more dramatic and active moments, and the dichotomy makes for a wonderful experience.
If you are a fan of high fantasy with deep moral quandaries, then this beautiful hardcover is for you. It will make you think and in a way where emotion cannot be taken out of any equation. This is the magic of the book that the magic in the book reveals to us.
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