The Magdalena #1
The Magdalena #1, from TopCow, is reminiscent of an age-old story: a secret bloodline, a magical weapon, an unbelievable destiny. The Magdalena is descended from a long line of female heroes sharing the blood of the Lost Disciple, Mary Magdelene. The Magdalena wields a powerful spear, made from the wood of the cross on which Christ was sacrificed. The powers she possesses are a necessary combatant to the seedy underbelly of demons and monsters that seek to destroy the church, humanity, and the world.
For those of you familiar with The Magdalena, this book will be a perfect reintroduction to the character and her world. Magdalena was created in 1998 by Joe Benitez, David Wohl, and Malachy Coney in The Darkness #15. The Magdalenas were a sisterhood, controlled by the Vatican. They hunted demons and cleansed the world of evil. The first of the Magdalena’s many incarnations who warranted her own series was Patience, who resurfaces years later in this fantastic re-imagining of the character in The Magdalena #1.
In The Magdalena #1, we enter Volume 4 of the saga with an updated Patience, fighting demons as she has always done. However, Patience is changing, and the world around her is changing, too. She has been The Magdalena and has wielded the power of the spear for longer than any other woman, and it might just be too long. Patience is injured, and it doesn’t look good for our long-time hero.
Separated from the Vatican and fighting demons by her own rules, Patience has nowhere to go when the power she knows starts to disappear. She hasn’t trained a successor, she hasn’t even found the next warrior in the bloodline. Patience begins to fear that the line will end with her and that the demonic powers of the world will reign victorious. Then, we meet Maya De Santos.
Maya, separated from the Vatican and the Church in her own way, is a normal, if alternative, a girl just trying to get through community college in one piece. When unexpected paths, lifelong twists of fate, an evil demon lord, and her sort-of-boyfriend lead Maya to her destiny, this re-introduction of The Magdalena takes a modern, unexpected turn. However, Patience is already losing patience with her new charge, and the consequences of this next step in the story might spell the end for the safety of humankind.
The script is the excellent work of two rising stars in comics writing, Tini Howard, and Ryan Cady. After winning the Topcow talent hunt, Howard’s first comics credit was in the Magdalena Seventh Sacrament One-Shot published in 2014. Her newest interpretation of the character is a great one. Patience is a deep, emotional character struggling with handing on her title and power to someone completely different from herself and everything the Magdalenas have traditionally stood for. Maya is raw, uncut, and struggling with her identity in more ways than one. She isn’t just the next Magdalena, she’s a character in her own right, and a welcome deviation from the usual pompous, entitled inheritors of some great supernatural power. With Tini Howard and Ryan Cady at the helm, this book is bound to go places no reader would expect the old Magdalena to go, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what paths Maya forges for this iconic character.
This new iteration of The Magdalena would not be the step forward it is without the incredible, modern art brought to this book by Christian DiBari. DiBari, traditionally a horror artist, brings a darkness and a depth to the story that adds to the demonic threat looming over Patience and Maya. The thick, dark lines and muted color palette interspersed with bright reds, magentas, and sickly greens, brings a horror element to this book that has eluded previous iterations of the character. This innovative color palette from Mike Spicer is a shining example of his modern, painterly style, and truly brings an otherworldly element to the book. It seems that a new Magdalena calls for a new perspective on the artistic rendering of her world.
Overall, The Magdalena #1 definitely has what it takes to revive this character and take her to new levels that meet the demands of modern comics. Hopefully, this creative team can take an established story, mix it up with a gothic vibe and a dash of Buffy, and give us a new ongoing series worth remembering. Issue two is available for pre-order now and is expected to hit shelves on April 26th, 2017.