Smoke and Mirrors

Mike Costa, Author, Ryan Browne, Illustrator
Mike Costa, Jon Armstrong, and Ryan Browne. IDW, $19.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-61377-402-1
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Terry Ward is a magician—of the talented but common sort—until he finds himself in an alternate universe where the word "magic" is taken for granted, and where new technology is developed via a form of sophisticated sorcery. Here, Terry is treated with the kind of suspicion 17th century Salemites reserved for certain women. When 12-year-old magic prodigy Ethan begins taking lessons in sleight-of-hand from Terry, he's fascinated to learn that "magic" can exist without incantation and ritual. Meanwhile, a Steve Jobs-like figure lurks in the background, hoping to usurp Terry's strange knowledge for use in his company's magic-driven gadgets. Scripter Costa keeps the plot in a state of perpetual development, aided by a detailed depiction of illusions contributed by real-deal magician Jon Armstrong. Browne's art reflects the influence of antique poster art; heavy outlines and careful composition immerse readers in the visuals of the parallel universe's "magic economy." An exciting, clever exploration of the prosaic and mythical varieties of magic in a post-Harry Potter world where everyone has magical powers and there are no Muggles. (Oct.)
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