Turns out being the new Maestro isn’t as easy as it looks. Will’s old/new girlfriend knocked him out, stole a book that can remake all of creation and ghetto Legolas is out for blood with the zombie fart wizard.
The most powerful spell in creation has been stolen. “The Book of Remaking” allows its user to recreate reality in their image, and the new Maestro is the only one who can open it. Now the thieves are coming for him. Willy’s reign might be a short one.
What’s the skinny?
When we had last left Will he was on top of the world…for a minute, anyway. After humiliating Lord Rygol and making vast reforms across his new kingdom, our hero was reunited with Wren, his childhood love. Their reunion was joyful but brief, as a bedazzled Wren knocked out the unsuspecting Will and stole The Book of Remaking, a book that just so happens to be the most powerful spell book in existence and gives its wielder the power of God, to remake reality like putty in their hand. Yeah.
Things only continue downhill from there. While Rygol’s control over Wren compelled her to steal The Book of Remaking, it wasn’t strong enough to compel her to return it to him, which in turn resulted in a gruesome death for poor Wren because, let’s be real, no one steals from Lord Rygol.
A devastated Will uses all his resources as Maestro to resurrect Wren and as a result inadvertently removes the protective barriers around his capital Zainon, allowing his father’s murderer Mardok, AKA zombie fart wizard, to come a knockin’ with his legion of parasitic bugs. Mardok is like a bull in a china shop and quickly begins destroying anything and anyone he can get his hands on. Will is forced to respond and despite the ace up his sleeve quickly finds out why his father and entire extended wizard family were brutally murdered by a single wizard. Queue boss battle folks.
What’s the catch?
I was really hoping for a longer wizard battle but I can’t knock the book for how it went down. Given our exposure to Will, his abilities and what his enemies can do, it felt right.
Is it good?
The art has been fantastic in every issue thus far, but Skroce took it to a new level this time around. The very first page is shown above and as you can see it’s a psychedelic spread that instantly hits you with the understanding that something crazy and epic is going down. From there things in the art department somehow manage to get even better. There’s all sorts of crazy magic happening; with a brief homage to Will’s father, easter eggs for Beauty and the Beast and what I believe to be the Eye of Sauron, wholesale death and destruction, a possible Mouse Guard nod and of course gruesome blood and guts. You’ll welcome Skroce’s hand as it pulls you into each page and commands your attention across every little detail.
We didn’t get much of Wren or Margaret in this issue (beyond saving Will’s ass) and I’m hungry for these two to take center stage. Given how often we’ve seen Will brush aside their advice and caution, I feel he’s soon in for a rude awakening. Wren and Margaret have a perspective Will lacks when it comes to the realms and I’m excited to learn more about their pasts within this crazy magical world.
I’d be remiss if I left out Back Stabber, our favorite music loving sword, Rygol, the teacher from hell and Mardok, the ultimate wizard zombie. All of Skroce’s characters are so appealing and for totally different reasons. I’ve yet to find myself bored with anyone or skimming past their pages. Rygol’s clearly an evil dickhead, but why? How’d he lose his eye? What’s the vendetta against Will’s father over? Back Stabber is a talking sword that digs music. Nuff said. Lastly there’s Mardok who from a visual standpoint is the most interesting character in the story. Then there’s his whole army of space parasites and obsession with extinguishing all life in the universe. It’s hard not to get drawn in by such fun and intriguing characters.
I can’t say how lucky comic fans are that Steve Skroce hasn’t gone back to the world of film. If We Stand On Guard didn’t put Skroce on your radar, then Maestros sure as hell should. Whether you’re new to comics and fantasy or an old hand at one or the other, there’s something here for you. The characters are all so appealing that you can just as easily find yourself rooting for the bad guys. We’re only three issues in and I can say with confidence that this book is easily one of the best comics on the shelves right now. Pick it up! You’d be a lembas bread gobbling motherfucker not to.