Created by Jack Kirby, Klarion is a young warlock from the other dimensional realm of Witch-World. This debut issue sees him travel to a multiversal New York where he gets a job as a cook at the Moody Museum, said to be a haven for wizards on the downlow. Soon he’s befriended teenage oddballs Rasp and Zell and using his spells in a fight at the Necropolitan Club. Watching from the edges are competing pairs of manipulators: his bosses, Piper and Noah, and the club’s owners, Coal and Necrot, who tempt the young with cyber-drugs.
Or something. I commend writer Ann Nocenti for the dreamlike ease with which her script propels Klarion through the issue, and the air of witty playfulness, but Klarion #1 did leave me rather bemused. Weird people are around every corner, odd things are accepted without question asked or explanation offered. There seems to be a war coming, with possibly neither side being the good guys, and both factions wishing to use Klarion, Rasp and Zell. We are told that Rasp is a descendant of Rasputin, making him difficult to kill, while (Rapun)Zell lives in a tower and has great hair … subtle this isn’t.
What it is, is intriguing. Sure, that’s partly to do with the lack of information about a world Nocenti clearly has worked out, but it’s also about the artwork. Trevor McCarthy’s illustrations in Batwoman were gorgeous; here, they’re astonishing, their work promising a world of mystery and wonder.
Layouts, character designs, backgrounds, executions – ‘feast for the eyes doesn’t begin to describe it’. And Guy Major’s wonderfully well-balanced colours only make things more edible. Check out those cute critters further up! Combine Nocenti’s talent for the weird and opaque with McCarthy and Major’s own conjuring tricks, add in Pat Brosseu’s stylish calligraphy and we could have magic here. If Nocenti dials back the mannered dialogue just a tad, this will become more my kind of comic book. As it is, I’m intrigued enough to give it a few issues.
Oh, and there’s a new take on Teekle, Klarion’s feline familiar – still adorable, but somewhat, shall we say, changed…