Review - Magic: The Gathering Chandra #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"I could probably rule a whole plane without ever being challenged!"

As far as Planeswalkers go, Chandra is certainly not to be trifled with. She has a propensity for doing good and in Magic: The Gathering Chandra #1 from IDW Publishing she'll have to be more than just good to help those around her. The issue is written by Vita Ayala, illustrated by Harvey Tolibao, colored by Joana Lafuente and lettered by Christa Miesner.

In the wake of tragedy, Planeswalker and pyromancer Chandra Nalaar strikes out on her own. On her journey, she'll have to fight against threats both old and new, as well as her own sense of guilt. Can she overcome all of that alone? And who is that familiar face lurking in the shadows?

It's difficult to craft a narrative around a preconceived game, but Ayala does a good job of working in the characters and Magic: The Gathering universe. As a Planeswalker, Chandra is supremely powerful, although Ayala doesn't let her immense power dictate the narrative. Ayala follows along with Chandra as she uses her power for helping others which also helps to establish her personality. There's also a nice cameo from another Planeswalker to further establish Chandra and the world. The issue's end is a little rushed--even if it does set up a potential foe for Chandra that could test her mettle.

Tolibao's illustrations do a good job of moving between normal Chandra and flame-infused Chandra. Tolibao works the fire into Chandra in a way that looks appropriate; for instance, her hair turns into fire and the way the fire flows mimics the flow of hair. There's a particularly well-establishing whole-page shot that demonstrates Chandra in all her fiery glory. The pages get a little intense in terms of the panel layout as Tolibao stacks and staggers a wide range of panel sizes that can get a little overwhelming at times. Lafuente's colors are bright and vibrant, do a good job of mimicking the fury of the fire.

Magic: The Gathering Chandra #1 does enough to stand out from the franchise that inspires it. Chandra is a powerful individual looking to do good and her ability to balance the two may be put to the test as the series unfolds. Ayala's script is dense in its approach to establishing Chandra as a good individual. Tolibao's illustrations fit right into the Magic: The Gathering aesthetic and could easily be a card in the game itself. Magic: The Gathering Chandra #1 definitely has a built-in fanbase, but it's also got other things going for it that new readers will want to check it out.

Magic: The Gathering Chandra #1 is available now.