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‘Magdalena #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Nothing beats learning on the job.  That’s something I firmly believe in; however, when it comes to becoming one of the chosen to protect the planet from demonic forces, a bit of textbook schooling wouldn’t hurt.

All bets are off for Maya Dos Santos, a teenager who has been chosen by the spear of destiny to become the next Magdalena.  This book opens with a very Obi-Wan and Luke sequence, which does not go past the writers, who joke at its parallels through Maya’s inner dialogue.  Her teacher is the former Magdalena, Patience, who has been cursed and thusly incapacitated to take on the demon Beelzebub, which Maya accidentally unleashed on the world. (See issue #1.)  The plan is to train Maya so she can clean up her mess.  But the buddy-buddy training montage is cut off abruptly, as a new player is brought into the light. 

Weyer Blackwood is an amateur sorcerer who’s playing with magic way above his expertise level.  But he isn’t alone, and by the end of his introduction, it’s clear there is someone – or something – else pulling the strings.

There is no happy ending with issue #2.  It leaves more unanswered questions than it starts with, only leaving us with knowledge that something is around the corner and it’s worse than the current status quo.  And if losing Patience as the Magdalena is not rock bottom, I’m hesitant to see what that rock bottom is. 

The pacing of the book is still as fast as the former, a style which – being a Magdalena fan – I will have to get used to.  There’s no doubt the artistry still wanes on me, especially when Maya reveals her “outfit” as the new Magdalena: soccer pads and a bullet belt.

But writers Tini Howard and Ryan Cady are not oblivious to the weight that this changing of the guard has not just on the characters but on the readers themselves. There is a juxtaposed parallel between Patience and Maya that seems to reflect what could currently exist between new Magdalena fans and old. There is conflict of tradition, of training, and of perception.  There was tradition with the former style of the book, which artist Christian Dibari is now making his own. Where the Church was always a looming figure in the Magdalena series, having trained her, we face a new format of learning, and no doubt a new way readers will see how the Madgalena is reared. And then there is perception.

What hangs in the balance with this book is that no one is sure (save for the writers) if this passing of the spear is permanent. Upon finishing this issue, I realized just how much this book and her title character mean to me.  If there is a silver lining in all this uncertainty, it’s knowing that Patience is just as indelible to the comic book world as any of the heroines within the Top Cow Universe, and even beyond.  It’s said that you don’t know what you’ve missed ’till it’s gone, and luckily, it hasn’t come to that.  Not yet, anyway.


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