Written by Roger Langridge
Art by Jeremy Treece
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Published by Dynamite Comics
Release Date: 02/18/2015
“Mandrake gestures hypnotically”
If you read Kings Watch and checked out my review of the series, then you might recall exactly how much I enjoy Mandrake the Magician and the influence those classic Lee Falk newspaper comic strips had on me as a young child. I credit Falk and Mandrake for what ultimately led to my passion for comics. Those black and white panels on the daily now defunct afternoon newspaper San Antonio Lite fascinated me as a youngster, as I recall Mandrake’s battles with the rat people, wandering onto El Dorado (the Lost City of Gold), and dealing with Octon. Thank you Mr. Falk.
Our story starts off the same way that King Flash #1 and King Phantom #1 begin, reminding readers exactly of those events that took place in Kings Watch. With Earth having been attacked by Ming the Merciless, the aftermath of those events has set the planets technology back one hundred years. Our defenders of the earth have prevailed, but not without many of its people feeling the impact and the terrible toll of war. I highly recommend that you follow the stories going on in the other “King” titles, as they may not be required reading to follow Mandrake, they are very compelling in their own setting and the stories will most certainly cross over.
This might be a spoiler to some, but those familiar with the story so far know that Mandrake’s ex-wife Narda has betrayed him for Cobra, becoming the new head of the snake. The beginning of this issue flashes back five years revealing to us the moment Narda joined forces with Mandrake’s long-time enemy, leaving our infamous illusionist heart-broken and devastated.
With the world and its technology set back one hundred years, print press is once again booming, and Mandrake has called a press conference to announce that his private estate “Xanadu” will be open to the public for a performance to raise money for those hit hardest by the invasion. His performance (along with some assistance from Karma) is a success, but not without some behind the scenes well-orchestrated and coordinated prying, that leads to an unworldly possession.
Langridge (Thor the Mighty Avenger, Abigail and the Snowman) does a fantastic job honoring this classic Falk character, while at the same time adding his own personal touch. The story was perfect and so much fun, really reminiscent of something we may have seen from Falk’s Mandrake, only contemporaneously imagined. The writing here should be truly be recognized.
The art threw me off at first glance, but that was a few weeks ago. Once I read the first issue from beginning to end, my thoughts on Jeremy Treece changed. His depictions of these characters (mainly Mandrake) were like really stylish caricatures with dazzling colors that won me over.
Before there was Doctor Strange, before there was Constantine, before there was Thomas Alsop, there was Mandrake the Magician. Both Langridge and Treece have pulled one out of the rabbit’s hat and delivered a first issue that in the spirit of Mandrake is truly hypnotic.
REVIEW: KING: MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)