THE MAGIC ORDER #3 by Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel
THE MAGIC ORDER #3 is an absolutely fantastic thrill ride, full of in-depth characterization, a complex and interesting plot, and some of the best art in the medium. Writer Mark Millar and artist Olivier Coipel have hit this issue out of the park, and I cannot wait to see what this series' finale will bring us.
98 %
Absolutely Magical
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For Netflix’s first foray into comic books, THE MAGIC ORDER has been an absolute homerun. This series has done almost everything right. Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel have showcased interesting characters and delved into a complex and intriguing mystery. More importantly, they made magic incredibly fun and cool. Thankfully, that trend continues and improves in THE MAGIC ORDER #3. The scorned mage Madame Albany has finally enacted her plans to strike back at the order. With the powerful Venetian in tow, she has already claimed the lives of several important members. Now, she aims to kill the leadership. The Moonstone family is in her sights. But the Moonstones are stubborn, and God only knows, they won’t go down without a fight.

Live and Die by the Order

THE MAGIC ORDER #3, Page 4. Courtesy of Image Comics

THE MAGIC ORDER has stolen my heart because of its fantastic characterization. Each and every member of this large cast has a deep personality and interesting flaws. THE MAGIC ORDER #3 is different only in its scope. Where the previous issue focused solely on a single Moonstone, this issue branches out. It focuses on the many branching paths this family and their rival are taking. I especially loved the intense focus on patriarch Leonard Moonstone’s interactions with his friends and family. The early conversation between him and his prodigal son Gabriel goes a long way to further the plot and make me care more about these characters. It also forces a great deal of tension into Leonard’s issue-ending clash with the Venetian.

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I also really enjoyed the work done with the villainous Madame Albany. While I feel her minions could use more work, this is, after all, only a miniseries. I recognize that not every major character can have a devoted issue. But the work Millar does with Albany feels entirely special. This is a woman cast out from her home and her birthright. Her own father didn’t believe she was capable of controlling her own dark urges. She wants revenge, yes, but more than anything else, she wants things to go back to normal.

I think this is where her character becomes more than a simple villain cliche. She just wants to go back to her old life with her old job. She wants to prove her father wrong, that she can control her inner darkness. That just feels so cool and shows the great depth Mark Millar has gone with his cast.

A Family Divided

THE MAGIC ORDER #3, Page 5. Courtesy of Image Comics

As I said, the way writer Mark Millar and artist Olivier Coipel approach magic in this series is absolutely incredible. It feels so natural to these characters, and it makes every cast member that much more dangerous. This is a world full of people who can seemingly manipulate the very essence of reality at will. There is no limit to their powers. As such, Millar and Coipel can simply have fun with this book. Regan and Cordelia turn a man into a living candle. One of Albany’s minions feeds off the life energy of two people having sex. Every moment of magic in this book simply looks and feels cool. Also, this culminates in the climactic and surprising final battle between the seasoned sorcerer Leonard and the terrifying Venetian. This is one of the coolest fight scenes in comics, by far, even if it is a bit confusing.

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Overall, the plot in THE MAGIC ORDER #3 is nearly perfect. The way Millar approaches this conflict is stunning. I loved the way he divided the plot between Regan and Cordelia’s investigation and Leonard’s “errands.” After all, this gets us more than seeing each of these characters interacting on their own terms. It also ensures that this story has no downtime. The tension is always present, even in those slower, more character driven moments. There are no fluff moments in THE MAGIC ORDER #3. Every panel, every line of dialogue, everything is incredibly important to the flow of the story. This book demonstrates exactly why Millar has become one of the biggest names in comics.

A Stunning Lightshow

THE MAGIC ORDER #3, Page 6. Courtesy of Image Comics

As Mark Millar pulled all of the stops in writing THE MAGIC ORDER #3, Olivier Coipel continued his tradition of excellence in the art. I think what astounds me most about Coipel’s work here, though, is how ordinary his world seems. Gabriel, Cordelia, Regan, and Leonard live absolutely normal lives outside of the magic. As such, they shouldn’t look like superheroes. Coipel’s anatomy and character design work simply looks so believable. At least, of course, until it isn’t. The final fight alone (I know I keep mentioning it, but it is absolutely incredible) showcases this artist’s incredible talent. The tone and atmosphere just work perfectly for such a gritty and powerful battle.

THE MAGIC ORDER #3: Final Thoughts

If you aren’t reading this series, stop what you’re doing and buy every single issue. Honestly, I cannot tell you how excited I get when this book releases each month. Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel have crafted an absolute thrill ride full of intense magic and interesting characters. THE MAGIC ORDER #3 showcases the absolute best of their joint work. The art alone should sell you on this series. However, the in-depth characterization of both hero and villain, the fast-paced mystery story, and the fantastic battles sweeten the deal. Seriously, you need this story in your life.

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