THE MAGIC ORDER #2 by Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel
THE MAGIC ORDER #2, while suffering a minor lack in characterization, does succeed on almost every other level. This is a magically fueled thrill ride full of fun and intensity, as well as some stunning art by Olivier Coipel.
93 %
Damn Good
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The first issue of Netflix’s first foray into comics, THE MAGIC ORDER, blew me out of the water with the first issue. Its intense view of a magical mob in chaos due to its leaders’ deaths felt wholly new and intriguing. Now, with the release of THE MAGIC ORDER #2, Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel have done it again. More members of the Order have been killed, and the Moonstone family can do nothing about it. And when someone breaks into their Vault of powerful magical artifacts, they can only hope that they are not the next target. Action, fantasy, and character collide in the utterly fantastic THE MAGIC ORDER #2.

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Taking on the Order

THE MAGIC ORDER #2, Page 2. Courtesy of Image Comics

THE MAGIC ORDER #2 is an absolutely fantastic read, but for completely different reasons than the first issue. THE MAGIC ORDER #1 felt a great deal more serious, dealing with murder and mafia mentalities in a far more realistic fashion. In this issue, though, Millar really amps up the magic. We get to see more than the simple teleportation spells of the first issue. We see someone drowned in a taxi cab, a soul stolen by a magical camera, and a fortress hidden inside a Chicago area museum oil painting. Millar leans on the ridiculousness of his world in a really beautiful and imaginative way. I wanted to keep reading just to see how this story kept tackling magic. Millar did something that I didn’t think was possible. He made magic fresh.

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Strikingly, though, he never loses that sense of seriousness. Even through the ridiculous elements of his story, we still get the sense of danger. Even with these really cool segments of magic, we know people are still dying. It is a really thin line that Millar walks, but he never falters. He nails every single piece of dialogue and every high-intensity action sequence. Millar perfectly captures the feeling that these characters are at war. More importantly, the world building never falters. He explores a number of important elements throughout this story. The way villain Madame Albany talks about how she used to split her nightlife as a sorcerer by running registers at a grocery store really drew me into this world. We suddenly understand that magic isn’t wholly common, meaning that being discovered becomes a true and present threat for this community.

Loss and Body Swapping

THE MAGIC ORDER #2, Page 3. Courtesy of Image Comics

I will say that the character exploration in THE MAGIC ORDER #2 is not quite as strong as the first issue. In THE MAGIC ORDER #1, each member of the Moonstone family, as well as the villains, had moments of exploration. That isn’t as true in this issue. With that said, though, THE MAGIC ORDER #2 doesn’t wholly fail in this aspect. Rather, compared to most other stories in the medium, it succeeds rather well. This issue simply suffers from a greater lack of characterization. We really only get to explore one of the Moonstones’ perspectives. While the other members of the family continue to pop up, we only draw closer to Cordelia. Even the villain doesn’t yet gain any true motivation.

THE MAGIC ORDER #2 gives a suite of stunningly interesting personalities and only one real “character.” The cast is incredibly strong and fascinating. I actively want to learn more about them all. However, the only history we delve into, the only flaws we truly explore, belong to Cordelia Moonstone. This focus is absolutely amazing, and it makes me sad that we don’t get more of it in this issue. Her issues of abandonment don’t feel like angst. In fact, the revelation that she was nearly aborted if not for magical intervention really helps fuel her case against her father. She was literally not wanted as a child, so her trust issues and her desire to impress her father feel entirely believable. The distance Millar goes to personalize Cordelia feels wholly satisfying. I only wish it spread to other characters.

Coipel on World-Building

THE MAGIC ORDER #2, Page 5, Courtesy of Image Comics

I am entirely biased in saying that Olivier Coipel’s work in THE MAGIC ORDER #2 is some of the best work in modern comics. Coipel is one of my favorite artists. The way he captures tone and atmosphere from page to page feels utterly brilliant. How Coipel subverts expectations in the early moments and twists an innocent birthday party into a surreal horror showcase works so well. I especially enjoyed Coipel’s focus on character design in this issue. While most of the Order wears suits and/or ties, THE MAGIC ORDER #2 allows him the opportunity to stretch his artistic muscles. Suddenly, the Order isn’t just filled with the stereotypical white mobsters. Different cultures, whether defined by race or wealth, carry their own dress and style. Coipel really outdoes himself in this regard, and I can’t wait to see how he develops this aspect further.

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THE MAGIC ORDER #2: Final Thoughts

THE MAGIC ORDER #2 is an absolutely stunning thrill ride of magic, action, and personality. Millar has developed a world that absolutely bleeds style and fun, while never sacrificing the serious tone. Yes, there are some issues with characterization. The singular focus on Cordelia Moonstone does take something away from the overall storytelling. However, that barely matters in the long run. I had a smile on my face from the moment I opened THE MAGIC ORDER #2. This is a world I cannot wait to spend more time in, and the fact that this series is limited to only six issues makes me a bit sad.

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