Maestros has been continually one of the best comics Image publishes since its first issue last November. It’s funny, imaginative, unique and does a stellar job at taking fantasy tropes and transforming them into something amazingly new. Issue #5 does all these things and more as Will finds himself in new trouble, gets out of that trouble, acts like a badass, and then finds an even worse trouble awaiting him.
Everything in this issue is plotted and carried out to perfection. Will’s confrontation with the Demon King was expertly played. Based on the strength of Will’s characterization thus far, it was believable that he would try to make nice with the king, so when the story spun around with Will showing Demon King who’s boss, it was a nice surprise while still not feeling out of character. This scene especially got my heart racing and reminded me of why I first started reading comics. It’s very rare that a comic ignites the excitement and wonder that Maestros has incited in me. I’ve been reading comics for a long time and have read A LOT of them, and sometimes even the best comics with the most stellar creative team can not incite that feeling of amazement you felt the first time you read a really good comic. It’s hard to feel the way you felt the first time you read Green Arrow‘s “Snowbird Don’t Fly” storyline, or that part in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men when Smasher crashes in a field of cows without getting to tell the X-Men that Cassandra Nova is sending a Shi’ar fleet to earth. It’s these comics that you can never forget where you were and what you were doing when you first read them that keep people reading, and Maestros is on its way to becoming one of those for me.
The B plot here is Margaret and Wren discussing whether or not it was the right decision to let Will go into the demon world alone. They have this discussion while shopping at Costco. It was funny both because Will is doing fine on his own and because Costco is always funny for reasons I can’t explain. When evil elf bastard supreme, Rygol, shows up looking for them to find Will, things go south. This part of the book could have used more time, as I would have liked to see more of Wren and Margaret’s badassery (and the characters from the wizard realm in a Florida Costco.) In the end, it wasn’t incredibly underdeveloped and served its purpose with that shocking ending.
As always, the art from Skroce was detailed, lush, and gross when it needed to be. The great thing about Skroce as a storyteller is that he can weave together these grand plots and wonderful characters and still have room for it to be laugh-out-loud hilarious both in art and story. I cannot say enough good things about this book. If you’re not reading it, you are sorely missing out. Maestros has become one of my must-read, can-barely-wait-between-issues comics. I know it’s only five issues in, but I can see the long and varied future it has ahead of it. Steven Skroce has done the impossible: he made me care about high fantasy by dumping all the boring overdone Tolkienism and making it modern, beautiful, and too funny for words.