Aspen is a relatively shiny new comic book company, under eight years old. Formed by the late Michael Turner - formerly of Top Cow - is it any wonder that I find myself attracted to their portfolio? Previously I reviewed Lady Mechanika, which I loved, and I find myself gleefully pawing at the pages of the teaser Issue #0 for Charismagic.
The first thing I have to mention is that, like all the Aspen comics, the feel of the issue is great. The texture of the cover matches the smooth soft feel the lines and cover artwork give to your eyes. Being a zero issue you don’t necessarily expect a big meaty issue, but there is still a feeling that there is more than enough to get stuck into.
Charismagic opens up in a diner with an elusive conversation between mysterious participants, setting the scene not only in story but in artwork as well. Hernandez has taken the opportunity to set foundations with the zero issue by giving the reader an introduction to what is likely to be a strong heroine, the main protagonist and also Hank the Magnificent! The development of the back story behind it as well means that although there is no direct relationship established between any of the characters portrayed, you can already see where it will head.
The artwork, by Khary Randolf and coloured by Emilio Lopez, is well defined and draws you in. The additional impact added by Lopez with his choice of colours and tone works very well, you can almost feel the hushed tones and nature of the conversation. When it changes to Samsun, the background colour change shifts the mood too. One other point to note is that the artwork isn’t gratuitous. Other titles from Aspen (and similarly Top Cow) can be a little heavy on the T&A. Charismagic has taken a strong female character and specifically not done this.
Now, I know it is only a zero issue. I know that it is designed to be set in front of a reader and tease them, enticing them in, but I still have felt that it was lacking in length. The comic itself is only 13 pages long, interspersed with adverts and the remainder of the comic contains further advertising and a mini encyclopaedia of “Druid Scriptures”. Normally I revel in these types of things but on this occasion I felt lost. It explains characters that have little or no bearing on the information we have already been given, so it felt wasted. The illustrative work, this time by Lopez, didn’t feel as strong as the rest of the comic either, even though it was good.
As a teaser goes it has certainly worked for me. Especially as I still went on the internet to see what else I could find. As a marketing plan I am sad to say that I have been dragged in. So far I like what I've seen and I’m eagerly looking forward to the first issue, however, I still feel that this could be the poor little magical sister of Lady Mechanika that currently is Aspen’s outstanding title for me.
Matt Puddy is a sucker for a girl and her griffin