Mystic U #2 – Alisa Kwitney, Writer; Mike Norton, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The first issue of Mystik U, a prestige format miniseries was a strong start, but suffered a bit from a lot of needed exposition. This issue doesn’t have that problem, as Mystik U. #2 is able to explore its “alternate DC Hogwarts” universe and the characters in much more effectively and deliver fascinating versions of classic DC heroes and villains. Doctor Occult, the mysterious headmaster/mistress, is caught between her two personalities on how to handle the mysterious kid who’ll go evil. But Zatanna, one of the students, has other concerns – passing her classes. Despite being the most famous of the students, she’s having the most problems with basic magic skills, unable to even conjure a portal yet. Instructors like Mr. E are losing patience, and despite her friends supporting her, Zatanna turns to help from an unconventional sorority that seems to breed elite students.
One area where this series excels is in its fusing of typical college tropes with magic, and the party hosted by this sorority is a great example. The addition of seemingly enchanted drink and loosening inhibitions leads to Zatanna and Faust getting closer, but the most haunted student at the school has major issues of his own. There’s a good number of twists in this issue, with a great horror-accented reveal involving the true nature of the sorority. I felt like some other characters, like Pia, Enchantress, and Sargon, were a bit out of focus for this issue, given that it’s only three issues long (although I do love that the blob monster from the last issue is now a fully-accepted member of the gang).
Mike Norton’s art is fantastic, slightly darker than what he normally does but with the same great character work. If I have one complaint, it’s the slightly cheap cliffhanger, but so far, this is one of the most enjoyable and unique books DC has put out in a while.
Corrina: While the first issue had to set up the essential problem confronting Zatanna, stopping a mystical menace that will destroy everyone, Mystik U #2 has terrific fun with the concept of magical students in high school and it separates itself from the “DC Hogwarts” label as something unique. The emphasis here is on high school students trying to carry on normally while being confronted with things that are far over their head, such as what was done to Faust by his father, or teenage Zatanna having to bear a burden of saving the world, a burden she knows nothing about but Doctor Occult does–and he has his own ideas about how to handle things.
These students read like teenagers, making bad but understandable teenage choices, even as their decisions have more far-reaching effects. And I feel for them. If you’d told me that young Faust would turn into my favorite character (with Blob a close second) after issue #1, I’d have rolled my eyes. As for Zatanna, she’s in an impossible situation and sought an easy answer which, of course, didn’t go her way.
I wish this miniseries wasn’t so short.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.