Comic Book Review: Semiautomagic TPB
Semiautomagic is a strange story to say the least. This first chapter throws us somewhere in the middle of the story with our main character solving a mystery. We know she is a professor, and she has a habit of ditching her lectures to kill monsters. An interesting character for her depths in knowledge of magic and the dangers of it to even the experienced. This is another story like Weird Detective spinning out of the pages of Dark Horse Presents. Some of the story taken from what happened there, and the rest new stories. That is of course unless it did continue through DHP and was missed along the way.
This story strikes a real balance between investigative and supernatural. Pretty much feeling more like the type of story you would get out of a TV show except with a higher budget to go to those horrific places as seen on that plane and beyond. The horde of monsters, various mixing of tones and much more set the mood for something to go wrong. What she does is dangerous and they do not pull punches to get that fear factor out of it. Our main character actually almost starts to feel like a female version of Constantine aside from the fact that she doesn’t seem to willing to go out of her way to use magic even though dealing with things that would require such power. Again showing us the kind of expertise she has in the realm of magic, while also establishing the rules of magic to this world. Magic is cool, though it is always more engaging when there is more to how it can be used for you or against you. Especially when it comes the cost of magic.
Too many times we see what is great about magic, the sacrifice for more power. Though when is it ever really stressed that using magic in general can have consequences? That is what hits you hard about this chapter of Semiautomagic. Alice Creed has preached about all the things that can go wrong, but it is another thing when you see her make those mistakes. Alex de Campi holds nothing back and makes this intense as we see how far Alice would go to get herself out of life-threatening situations.
For a new story the plot was fairly easily to grasp as well. A dark force from between universes begins seducing young souls through an innocent computer game. It was a scary experience because there is also a good balance overall struck between showing how the real world and things supernatural coincide. It is easy for things to seem like something different from what it really is and Alice learns this the hard way. It is even easier for mistakes to come back to haunt her as the second half of the book focuses on. Semiautomagic tries very hard to hammer that point, but it is not until you see those consequences take shape that it hits you as hard as it does. Especially seeing that not all actions of Alice are of her own free will. When it comes to magic, sometimes there are higher beings you answer to, with this surprisingly being one of those worlds where you do.
The interior art is distinguishing for Semiautomagic. It’s gritty for one that centers around what is pretty much a police procedural for the supernatural. Very detailed and uses lots of dark tones.Aside from this, the horror of this chapter starts to stand out when you are staring at these faces which look very real, while also carrying big grins that are creepy. The layout structure as well looks great and adds to the supernatural atmosphere of the story. What grabs your eye most about Semiautomagic is that it dives into some seriously traditional magic. There are plenty of times I have complimented recent series for doing this, but Jerry Ordway and Marissa Louise have done it best. They know that it isn’t simply about causing yourself a little bit of pain or pricking your skin to shed a little blood. They get down to the very essence of what traditional means in terms of the do’s, the don’t, and every little thing in-between that you have to be prepared for when there are always forces working against you.
Semiautomagic leaves you wanting more. More of this tragic story and the lengths Alice would go to in order to save the day. Even in the face of great loss. This story is unapologetic for its dark tone and takes full advantage of the room given to express the dark side to magic. Another one worthy of recognition spinning out of Dark Horse Presents.