So, that’s all folks. The last issue of the first arc of Smoke and Mirrors from Mike Costa (Writer), Ryan Browne (Artist), and Jon Armstrong (Illusionist) has been released . . . FOR NOW! And, yes, you read that right, this book has a professional magician working on it.
If you don’t know, the series from IDW follows Terry Ward, an illusionist who wakes up one day to find himself mysteriously transported to a world where technology runs on magic and spells instead of electricity. Ward struggles to find his way home and eventually connects with a young magician savant and ultimately his protege, a spirited twelve year old named Ethan. Despite trying to keep a low profile, Terry Ward quickly becomes the target of an obsessive “Steve Jobs-type” character who is fascinated and threatened by Ward’s strange, new magic, and ultimately both Ethan and Terry are dragged into the seedy underbelly of a monopolistic, corporate machine.
Now, the final chapter does a fantastic job of wrapping up the arc, while leaving plenty more story to tell. While I don’t want to give away the ending, I can say that it was shocking, heartfelt, and completely satisfying as a reader. In this final issue, writer Mike Costa pulls a magic trick all his own. After showing us a taught mystery focused on a displaced loner for four issues, Costa effortlessly conjures up a touching, character-driven story of a teenage outcast struggling with self-discovery, complete with all of the fear, anger, sadness, and joy that comes with it. Costa, Browne, and Armstrong have reached into a hat and pulled out a beautiful coming of age story that pushes the comic medium further than anything I’ve ever seen before.
If you haven’t been reading this fantastic story issue-to-issue, then you’ve been missing out on the best show in town. But, don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and pick up all five issues (You probably couldn’t anyway, as most of the issues have completely sold out.), BUT you can pick up the trade paperback collecting all five issues starting next month, which should include some fun new extras. And, from a comic book that writes a practical magic trick into the story of each issue for the reader to experience, I think we can expect great things.