Charismagic: The Death Princess #1
Written by Vince Hernandez
Art by Emilio Lopez
Colors by Emilio Lopez, Jocelyn Dunn, Ivy Beth Gladstone
Letters by Josh Reed
Covers by Emilio Lopez, Khary Randolph, and Siya Oum
Release Date: November 7, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
Charismagic: The Death Princess is a spin-off miniseries from the original series. It introduces a formidable supervillain named Orlana, a powerful magician who can manipulate and control the minds of others. She uses this ability to enslave her kinsmen and build a kingdom. Kon and his ally Serke make a foolish and ill-fated attempt to invade Orlana’s kingdom. In defeat, Kon abandons Serke and runs off into another dimension and vows to return. Meanwhile, Orlana ensnares Serke into her web of influence and corrupts his mind. On his return Kon reaches out to some fellow warriors to join him on his quest to take down the evil princess.
The first portion of Charismagic: The Death Princess #1 is a prologue to the actual story. Personal bias: I’m not usually a fan of prologues and tend to skim them whenever I read a novel or comic. Writer Vince Hernandez introduces Orlana and Kon to the readers with a brief, narration-heavy opening that flies through Orlana’s childhood and Kon’s over-ambitious attack on her empire. I had difficulty paying attention to this section. The magic world and its backstory are intricately planned and detailed, but much of this information might be better conveyed if it’s sprinkled into the action.
The comic is much more engaging once the story gets moving and Kon pieces together his fellowship of likeminded warriors. It reminds me of an old school, JRPG video game, like Dragon Quest or Lunar where the hero gathers some allies to go take down some evil overlord. Most of issue #1 is dedicated to laying down story pipework, introducing the main characters, and providing brief glimpses of the supporting cast.
The highlight of this issue is Emilio Lopez’s artwork. Charismagic: The Death Princess is one of those books where you can’t help, but take a step back and admire the craftsmanship. Lopez’s linework is reminiscent of a Disney cartoon. It features less fine details than the usual American comic style, but it’s very fluid and expressive. The coloring is cel-shaded and gives Charismagic a cinematic flair that pops off the pages and begs you to read more. Lopez’s unique comic style is a great vision of this epic adventure.
Charismagic: The Death Princess is off to good start. While there are some references to the original Charismagic series, reading it is not at all necessary to dive right into this spin-off. Compared to the elaborate worldbuilding, the actual storyline is simple so far. Once things get moving, this comic shows a lot of potential for a fun, light, fantasy adventure. Now that the introductions are out of the way, I have a feeling that Vince Hernandez is setting us up for a few twists and turns.