Mystik U #3 – Alisa Kwitney, Writer; Mike Norton, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Highly Recommend This Series
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: One of the most ambitious DC Elseworlds projects in a while, this double-sized finale of Mystik U packs a lot into one package and brings the story of this DC magic academy with a sinister twist to a satisfying close. When we last left off, Faust’s demonic power had kicked in at exactly the wrong moment and seemingly killed Zatanna. After a prologue dealing with Sargon and Enchantress seeking out Dr. Occult, the story picks up as Faust is facing expulsion – and, it seems, something much worse – until healer Pia manages to get her alone and seemingly resurrects her. But that hints at a dark secret that she’s been keeping since she came to the school – she’s not actually a healer, she’s a necromancer, and while Zatanna isn’t quite a zombie, she’s now linked to Pia’s lifeforce in a way none of them fully understand. There’s a lot going on here, including the fact that Dr. Occult has banished headmistress Rose to his subconscious so he can protect the school from an evil force hiding among one of the students.
And his plan to draw that student out of hiding and destroy the evil within them – by any means necessary – finds its fruition in finals week, as the students are going to face a series of extreme and dangerous tests that will threaten their lives. Although Rose is able to get the upper hand on her counterpart and take her place back with Xanadu’s help, it’s too late to prevent Occult’s plans for the students, and they soon find themselves facing off against the demon Nergal – the demon who took Faust’s soul – who gives them a twisted bargain that will require one of them to sacrifice themselves. It’s rare to see a comic book jump genres so frequently and so effectively, but this comic seamlessly handles teen angst one minute, followed by hard-boiled horror the next. The identity of the future villain is telegraphed early on this issue, but the resolution is clever and preserves all the characters who have made this series so great. DC kind of missed the boat on this one, because it feels tailor-made to be a hit in the DC Ink line. Don’t be surprised to see it reissued as a graphic novel next year and sell millions.
There is so much going on in this issue and all of it is fascinating.
When this story began, we were in a future in which all the heroes had been defeated and our ultimate villain was gloating. The only solution to defeating this threat was to rewind time to the point where the threat first appeared: among a group of students at Mystik U, DC’s magical school.
And then the story grew ever more complicated, introducing new and familiar characters in a bunch, but never so it became confusing to read, showcasing teachers like Rose/Dr. Occult who clearly had other agendas, and we won’t even mention the other students who caused problems.
The finale managed to grab all those disparate plot threads and spin them together. It worked because of the terrific character development of people we barely knew in issue #1, like Pia and Sargon and Blob. (It’s interesting that while Zatanna receives star billing in this series, Pia and Sargon steal the show.)
As Ray said, DC should issue a prestige collected edition of this, quickly, and pitch it to bookstores and libraries, much the same audience as Scholastic’s successful graphic novels.
Also, commission a sequel, stat.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.