Review - Charismagic #0

Aspen Comics is more than just Aspen Matthews and the rumor that Megan Fox will play her in the feature film.  One of their newer works is Lady Mechanika, which is currently wrecking it as far as popularity goes.  There's also Executive Assistant: Iris, another popular one with the fans.  In case you haven't noticed by now Aspen Comics is big on the strong, female character.  Not a damn thing wrong with that and with the release of Charismagic #0 it looks like they've got another one to add to their growing stable.  The zero issue is a primer for a larger run of six issues slated to begin in February and it looks like Aspen Comics may be onto something here.

The premise behind Charismagic is pretty simple: there are evil, magic forces reawakening and looking to wreak havoc in the modern day world.  Fans of Aspen Comics may realize this to be something of a departure from other Aspen works.  Sure, they've done magic before, but most of their other works dealing with magic take place in equally magical and faraway realms.  The setting of Las Vegas provides an automatic character that has a mythos about it which sets it up to be an adversary against the evil through magic of its own.  I'm not saying that Las Vegas itself is the main character going up against Samsun, the previously mentioned evil force has seemingly escaped eternal imprisonment in The Void Realm. There really seem to be two main characters at play here.

The first is Sudana.  Little is revealed about her but she is a telepath that is struggling to maintain what little order is left in the world in regards to magic.  She's aware of Samsun's impending return and is seeking others to combat him, but when you're living in Sin City (not the Frank Miller version...although some would argue there are similarities between that and Vegas) it's hard to rally the troops.  The issue ends with the introduction of the second main character, a Vegas performer named Hank the Magnificent introduced as a man with more potential than just being a dapper magician with a cat named Sparkles.  At the end of Charismagic #0 I'd say we know just as much about Sudana as we do Hank, but it's clear these two are destined to cross paths and perhaps even team up.

Considering this is more of a primer issue it's hard to comment on the actual story, but so far what creator and writer Vince Hernandez has going is chock full of potential.  It's easy to do a story about magic, but to set it in modern day Vegas could add a weight of reality to it that makes it a little less predictable.  Khary Randolph's illustrations are very well defined and add a certain bravado to the story.  Stage magic is all about showmanship and there's a little bit of that in the illustrations by Randolph and colors by Emilio Lopez.  I have one minor gripe with the lettering by Josh Reed: white font is hard to read.  The entire issue isn't in white font, but there a few pages that set up Samsun in white font that were a little tough to discern against the beigeish background.

The tagline for the book reads "Everything you know about magic will vanish!" which is pretty clever and should probably be kept in the back of your mind as you read.  I could see this series actually playing out very well, if the pacing of Charismagic #0 is any indication.  This may not be the most action-packed series out there, but I could easily see a few really cool magic "battles" playing out on the pages.  And this may be because I just watched Chuck last night, but I could easily see Yvonne Strahovski/Sara Walker in the role of Sudana.  She's looking to be a badass chick that will lead Hank out of (and inevitably into) lots of precarious situations while looking extremely good doing it.