By the cover alone, I didn’t have a good feeling about Son of Merlin. It just screamed at me that it was going to be a cheese-fest, but you know what they say about books and covers and what not.
So diving into this book, the first thing I noticed was the art, which is handled by Zid. It’s fairly reminiscent of artists like Arthur Suydam and Bill Sienkiewicz but more, I guess, toned down? It’s not at all bad, and it works pretty well, especially for scenes that feature heavy use of magic. The way the pages are broken down are cool and representative of the two different worlds that are featured in this book, magical and scientific. In the beginning when Merlin is present, and there is magical goings-on, the panels are chaotic and enhance the magic in the story, whereas when Simon is the focal point, the panels are your average fare and match the character’s “normal” life. It makes the comic a little more interesting, and I’d really like to see this dynamic played on more in further issues.
I’m not going to lie, I am not at all familiar with the previous works of the writer, Robert Place Napton, and had no idea what to expect. The overall plot presented in this first issue is pretty cliche by now. A hero is killed by someone/something, and there is no one standing in the way to stop that person/thing from achieving the goal. But wait…there is! The hero had a heir/descendant that can somehow prevent the impending doom.
The dialogue is pretty good throughout most of the book, except at the end of this issue when Merlin’s apprentice, Gwen, meets Simon, Merlin’s son. Everything felt a little too quick to get to the chase for Merlin’s book, which is understandable considering this is a five issue limited series, but I would have liked to have seen Gwen get Simon’s trust by performing some sort of magical ability or spell before he starts to get chased with her. It all just seemed a little rushed.
The magical and scientific sides of this comic, I believe, should be explored a little more in depth. The duality of science and magic in the story, which can easily mirror the ongoing argument of Darwinism vs. Creationism as well as the struggle between having faith while believing in science—which is doable given Simon’s situation—could give the book a little more impact and really make this book shine.
Regardless of all that, however, the book is pretty damned entertaining and everything isn’t given away in this initial issue. There are still the mysteries of why Morgana needs to find a ring referred to as The Stone of Giramphiel and Merlin’s book, as well as how or if Simon’s science background will play into everything that is going on. Overall, the book is a decent start to the series and has plenty of room to improve, so at the price point of a buck, this is a steal.
Joseph Torres, a mysterious character who aids the forces of law and order, is in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man-about-town. He is a Marvel News Reporter for Capeless Crusader and aspiring comic book writer. His favorite ‘Big 2′ comic book characters are Marvel’s Moon Knight and DC’s The Flash. If you want to reach him for something pertaining to reviews or comic news, or, heck, to argue who’d win in a fight between comic book characters you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org