By Bo Stewart — WHOA! The Magic Order #5 gives us this book’s biggest twist yet, and I am still reeling from the implications. I’m not going to get into spoilers here—sorry for the tease—but I will, however, talk about what this series is in broader terms, stressing as hard as I can that if you like Harry Potter, you MUST be reading The Magic Order. Harry Potter for adults is the basic premise of this comic, and it’s a concept that has been attempted before, but no one has been able to deliver on that premise with near the amount of success as The Magic Order.
The Magic Order is the first original Millarworld comic to come out after writer Mark Millar agreed to a landmark deal with Netflix, and like the other new Millarworld projects that have been announced, it impresses with its sheer ambition. Millar has never been one to shy away from a challenge, but with The Magic Order, he’s attempting a story as big (if not bigger) than he’s told before, in the process scratching an itch I didn’t know I had. I’m pretty confident in saying that now that there’s only one issue left for the current run of the series. Millar books always move at a brisk pace, but these past two issues have kicked the narrative into overdrive.
The disgruntled villain, Madam Albany, is pursuing the forbidden spells concealed in the ancient text of the Orichalcum, and a group called the Magic Order is the only thing standing in her way. While similar villains are portrayed as straight evil, Albany is laced with nuance. She is perfectly fine with the Order continuing to exist, in fact she wants it to, she just wants to be in charge. To achieve this goal, Albany has unleashed her top assassin, the sinister Venetian (one of the coolest character designs in recent memory, btw), to eliminate those who stand in her way. To counter Albany’s growing threat, Gabriel Moonstone has been unwillingly forced back into the world of magic after settling down into a quiet and domestic existence. Gabe is a gifted wizard and some of the coolest visual displays of magic in this story come from his wand. Magically imprisoning foes in works of literature has really cool possibilities and is one of the best examples of the power that magic has in this world. I hope they revisit this later in the series.
Anyway, I’m a Harry Potter fan, and a lot of what drew me to that story was the depth of world building and the mythos. That’s also a lot of what I like about this book. In addition to this being a drop-dead gorgeous comic (thank you Olivier Coipel), the creators here have established a similar scope and grandeur to this story’s conflict. The world of The Magic Order feels fully realized, and instead of burying the reader with exposition, the creators expect the reader to keep up and fill in blanks for themselves as the plot progresses. I love it when a creator trusts the reader; it makes it so much easier to get lost in a strong story like this one.
Overall: The Magic Order #5 has a shocking ending that drastically changes the course of this story. I won’t give it away, but, simply put, if you enjoyed Harry Potter, you MUST be reading The Magic Order as it heads toward its finale. 9.0/10
The Magic Order #5
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Peter Doherty
Publisher: Image Comics
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Bo grinds for the Man by day so he can create comics by night. He is the lesser half of the Stewart Brothers writing team and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @stewart_bros