Thursday, January 12, 2012

WEBCOMIC REVIEW: MAGELLAN BY STEPHEN CROWLEY

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We don’t all get to go to Xavier’s— we’re not all “gifted” or (in my case) not a youngster.

Okay, sure, it’s a fake school but what fanboy hasn’t daydreamed about learning the finer points of bench pressing freighters or taking notes in Telekinesis 101? Hey, maybe you still do. If so, hop over to www.magellanverse.com to live vicariously through a youngish group of rapscallions as they deal with doing just that: learning what it takes to master one’s superpowers while still growing into responsible adults.

Grab the Visine—creator Stephen Crowley has archived 600+ pages on the site, which is and has been updated every Wednesday and Friday since 2004, so there’s plenty of reading to do if the premise piques your interest. So what’s the deal? Kaycee longs for leaving home, and under the encouragement of her supportive parents but chagrin of her boyfriend she takes off for Magellan, a kind of “Hogwart’s Island” for the cape n’ tights set dedicated to helping super-kids get a grip on their developing powers. Kaycee is a tough cookie with an apparent chip on her shoulder but she’ll need it—she’s the only one with no powers to speak of, jammed into classes with a sorted bunch that run the gamut of comic bookery’s usual super-stuffs.

Crowley tosses in several characters in mostly packed scenes, and the pacing is quick and never lagging. You’d have to practically take notes as you read to keep track of all the different faces and powers of Magellan Academy, but luckily Crowley wisely manages to keep each distinct from one another. There are plenty of subplots and goings-on to fill out Kaycee’s days and nights, so you’ll always have something to follow. I only read the first “issue” and some of the latter entries so I can only speak on the beginnings, but I hope as the tale progresses that Crowley doesn’t bite off more than he can chew and distract from the main story by having too many players on the stage. I guess he could pull a DC and just Crisis everyone away, but one gathers he has a firm handle on his craft and won’t have to.

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 Super-kids and super-schools have been done before, but Crowley’s personalized take is a welcome change with a distinct flavor, even if at times I thought some crowd shots looked a little off-kilter. If you find yourself needing a free fix of Avengers Academy-lite—that’s a compliment, respectively—Magellan’s your online destination.



Brian Cee is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics.

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