Posted on September 9, 2010 by alanajoli
In theory, Magdalena #1 starts a new series, but the story of Patience, the current heir to the Spear of Destiny and the bloodline of Christ, began in the Darkness series. We start here with Patience already split off from the church — in the first pages, it’s clear that the people who were once her benefactors (and bosses) are now very, very close to being her enemies. This is, of course, problematic, as the world is about to end: Satan’s son is on earth, and only the Magdalena can stop him.
The writing here is tight, and the art is good, if a bit in the standard-comic-book-style. The biggest problem with Magdalena #1 is the feel: cross Buffy the Vampire Slayer with The Da Vinci Code, and this is pretty much what you might expect. The Magdalena is effectively a demon slayer from the bloodline of Christ. While the story of Christ’s heirs was folklore long before Dan Brown found it, the demon slayer bit parallels the Slayer line of chosen ones from Buffy a little too closely. When one Magdalena dies, she’s replaced by another from the line of Christ, much like a new Slayer is called. The church serves as a Watcher council. The current Magdalena is in rebellion (a whole arc from the Buffy series). The big bad is a child, similar to the beginning of Buffy season 2. The parallels continue, and the series feels like there isn’t much new going on. As far as the mash-up properties go, there’s also a scene straight out of a James Bond movie, where Patience comes up out of the water — all that’s missing is a gun.
The potential for something new to come out of the series is in Kristof, Patience’s former trainer. He looks to be her contemporary in age, however, and it’s easy to suspect that they have history besides just work. Better yet, he’s a secret service-like agent of the church, dedicated to the organization where Patience is not. Because they’re both being targeted by mini-evil, it seems likely that they’re going to have to team up to survive. If that’s the case, the series should fall out of its Buffy-esque, “Chosen One” story line and quickly combine those elements with either a “buddy-movie” type story or a romantic interest tale — one that could be difficult, since I suspect that Kristof is not supposed to have any hanky panky going on with the Magdalena, who may well be considered a nun of sorts (demon slaying notwithstanding).
Overall? The dialogue is good. The villains seem to come from everywhere, and that’s always nice: when you can’t trust the good guys to be good, there’s a ton of storytelling potential there. If the series can differentiate itself from its Buffy-isms, it could really take off into something fun. However, if we discover that the mini-evil has killed Kristof when issue #2 picks up, well, there’s not much hope for the rest of the series.
Review by Alana Abbott