Willy Kahzar escaped being eaten by a giant plant monster and now has the keys to a dimension-spanning magical kingdom. Oh, and an ancient evil wizard wants to eat his flesh and half his servants want him gone. No pressure!
The Maestro is dead, long live the Maestro! For William Little, being last in line for the throne didn’t grant any exemptions from the brutality of Wizarding school, Hogwarts it wasn’t. Now, Willy’s family is dead and he’s the new Maestro, armed with the most powerful spell in creation, he has a few lessons of his own for the mad mages of his new magical kingdom. What could go wrong?
What’s the skinny?
Will’s the new Maestro and the realms must bow before his infinite wisdom and cater to his every whim. But first, it’s flashback time. The letter to Hogwarts has arrived and the instructors here make Professor Snape look like a sweet little kitten. Will is quick to discover that he’s a natural at learning magic and making mops and buckets dance around like it’s Fantasia is admittedly pretty hilarious. Unfortunately the cost of fame with his classmates proves to be his undoing, as he discovers the hard way that magic is anything but safe.
Behold citizens of the realms, the Khaleesi reforms are here! As head honcho, Will’s agenda is to quickly enact sweeping reforms across his kingdom, and while the citizens may be overjoyed with the changes, the folks in charge are anything but. Powerful people want to kill him, powerless people want to worship him, but bigger still is the return of a very special person from his past.
What’s the catch?
The flashbacks are such a tease. There’s so much I want to know about Will’s past, how he gained such prodigious skill and why he was exiled. Skroce has me enthralled but I don’t feel that the audience is getting enough in this space. More please.
Is it good?
Skroce is a master of detail. You don’t have to look closely at each panel to understand the story, but if you do you’ll be rewarded, especially in the flashbacks. It speaks volumes to me when an artist takes the time to ensure all of the minor filler characters no one is paying attention to have fully fleshed out unique outfits, accessories and physical features. There continues to be an element of gore and extreme violence, but it doesn’t come in excess. That being said, when it does, man is it gruesome.
Dave Stewart is an Eisner Award winning colorist and there’s no question why if you look at his work here. The colors are bright and vivid, and when combined with Skroce’s pencil work they result in a comic that’s so freaking gorgeous it’s got to frustrate people who don’t get to work with him.
The humor of this book continues to press all the right buttons with me. Will’s hilariously named “Khaleesi reforms” are about outlawing slavery, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and raising up the persecuted masses. Which is exactly what our favorite dragon queen is always going on about, but as with Miss Stormborn, these changes really piss off the powerful people. I’m also a big fan of our newest antagonist, the wizard Lord Rygol. A figure from the new Maestros’ not so distance past, he looks like a cross between Odin and Legolas which doesn’t escape the notice of our hero. After some heated words from Rygol Will elegantly refers to him as a “Lembas bread gobbling muthafucker!” God, I love this guy.
Steve Skroce has landed us somewhere in the middle of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Tommy Boy. Instead of David Spade running around keeping our hero out trouble, we have a guy with a sunflower for a head, his badass mom and a talking sword that’s fond of music. Yeah, this book is fucking awesome. Though I saw the big twist at the end of this issue coming, it feels a little too obvious to be what it appears. There are three possible angles that I can see and that doesn’t even involve the super scary flesh eating homeless fart wizard (Mardok).
I’m reading quite a few comic books right now and this one is without question the most fun. Not only is the art absolutely gorgeous but it’s also hilarious and has a truly unique play on fantasy. Do yourself a favor and pick it up — you won’t regret it.