Smoke and Mirrors #3
Script by Mike Costa
Art by Ryan Browne
Illusions by Jon Armstrong
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Color Assists by Aaron Daly
Covers by Ryan Browne, Francesco Francavilla
Release Date: May 23, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
Imagine, if you will, a world where magic is not just present, but is the primary means by which things are accomplished. Spells are used to make cars move, light up homes, and do pretty much everything for everyone. And like the oil companies of today, this world has its own businesses that enjoy the benefits of being on top and have no interest in changing the status quo. Smoke and Mirrors #3 gives us a bit of insight into the life of someone ripped from our world and suddenly dropped into this other, more magical, one.
Terry Ward is that tragic individual. A stage magician by trade, he is flabbergasted by the way things function in this new place. But as any good performer does, he manages to quickly adapt to the environment and begins to ply his trade. He spends his days in an out of the way marketplace pandering to the crowds. Things that we take for granted, such as the cup and ball trick or hidden coins, are wondrous to these strangers. Earning just enough to stay alive, he spends his time trying to stay under the radar, so to speak. That is, until a young boy named Ethan sees him perform.
As boys are known to be, Ethan is extremely curious and finds a way to convince Terry to teach some of the tricks to him. Unfortunately, like most kids, he is unable to keep it a secret. This causes a bit of concern for his mother and leaders of The Trade Circle. We spend most of this issue learning the back story of Terry’s initiation into this new place and how he has learned to hide his skills. Mike Costa obviously has an excellent grip on the mechanics of writing. The back and forth of the story reads like a mystery novel and works well for this series. The art of Ryan Browne is simple but effective, allowing the story to take the dominant role and working to assist in telling the tale, instead of overshadowing it.
I enjoy the story in this series quite a bit. It’s mixture of a classic “stranger in a strange land” theme and a stage magician as a protagonist is both fun and interesting. The characters have developed quickly and seem to have more depth than we have come to expect from a new comic. I’m interested in seeing where this one goes since I am left guessing what the main theme might be. Maybe it will be Terry trying to get home, maybe he is an inmate in an asylum, or maybe he’s drunk at the bar and dreaming…who knows? Regardless, the dialogue alone is what seals the deal for me. You should give it a try if you are even vaguely interested, it’s easily worth your time and money.