Smoke and Mirrors #1


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Smoke and Mirrors #1


  • Words: Mike Costa
  • Art: Ryan Browne
  • Story Title: Chapter One: Get Ready
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 21, 2012

A bold take on magic and technology, and a brand new adventure.

Writer Mike Costa and artist Ryan Browne’s first magical foray into Smoke and Mirrors is quite great.  Within the first few pages, Costa perfectly lays out the tone and rules of his new tale, a world where magic has delicately worked its way into almost every facet of human life, from technology to medicine.  Behind this too good to be true partnership, however, appears to lay a world of unexplained questions and histories for the young lead, Ethan, to explore.

Costa’s introduction to Smoke and Mirrors is fantastic for several reasons, but most importantly is his unapologetic declaration of the book’s rules.  Costa’s writing is straightforward, pulls no punches, and clearly lays out the rules of Ethan’s world, without any timid over-explanation of the logic behind Smoke and Mirrors.  Ethan’s world of inter-connected magic and technology is wholly believable because Costa completely throws readers into the mix without asking them to follow along, and instead the writer leads them through his tale. 

Beyond Smoke and Mirrors’ fresh and bold take on magic is Costa’s solid character work with Ethan.  The young magician, like many too smart for their own good kids, believes himself to be more versed in the magical world than he truly may be.  It is this confidence, however, that leads him towards a greater tale.  As he questions the adults that surround him, it’s his suspicious personality that will hopefully send him off on an adventure that involves a completely different and older type of magic.

Ryan Browne’s artwork not only looks great, but works well on a storytelling level.  Browne’s more static work of character interactions is quite good, with the introductory keynote speech displaying some solid character designs and background settings.  As Ethan moves along in his story, moreover, the action oriented scenes capture motion perfectly, adding some much appreciated tension to the scene.  Browne definitely is the perfect fit for Smoke and Mirrors.

Mike Costa and Ryan Browne’s Smoke and Mirrors was a surprise hit, especially when picking up the book without any previous knowledge of the team or title.  Costa’s world and direction is incredibly bold, making the book so much more enjoyable to take in, while Browne’s art captures Ethan’s tale perfectly.  The world of Smoke and Mirrors is just beginning, but the mystery behind it just begs to be explored.  

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