Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review: MAESTROS #1

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Fonografiks
COVER: Steve Skroce
VARIANT COVERS: Pia Guerra; Geof Darrow with Dave Stewart
36pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (October 2017)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Maestros is the new comic book series from writer-artist Steve Skroce.  Skroce has produced a number of comic books over a career that is almost three decades long, including the recent miniseries, We Stand on Guard (Image Comics).  Skroce's most famous work may be as the storyboard artist for the Oscar-winning film, The Matrix (1999).

Maestros #1 opens in the magical realm of Zainan, where the monstrous wizard, Mardok, is directing the brutal destruction of the royal family.  Meanwhile, on Earth, there is a young man named Will who can wield magic.  Instead of doing great things with his magic, however, Will is helping enormously rich men... become enormous.  Now, Will's mother, Margaret, has returned to bring Will back to his destiny – a destiny that has been problematic for him.

In the synopsis that Image Comics provides for Maestros #1, it includes a quote from award-winning writer, Brian K. Vaughan, Skroce's We Stand on Guard collaborator.  The quote read, "MAESTROS is a masterpiece, with one of the best first issues I've ever read. Steve is somehow an even greater writer than he is an artist. Get ready for your new favorite comic." [END]

I have to kind of agree on the first part.  This is one of the best first issues that I have read, at least over the last several years.  There are 34 pages of story and I could have easily read another 34; in fact, I am anxious (“jonesing”?) for the second issue.  Maestros #1 is exciting, imaginative, funny, witty, and delightfully bursting with surprises.

As well written as this is, I am not sure that Skroce could be a better comic book writer than he is a comic book artist, and he is a really good comic book writer – a natural at writing a comic book script.  As a comic book artist, Skroce, is so damn good – he is a freak as a artist – that he would have to become the greatest comic book writer of all time to surpass his illustrative skills.  Skroce produces some of the most visually striking comic book art and graphics, and his graphical storytelling, from the quietest moments to the fastest action scenes – are potent, to say the least.

Perhaps, we should not separate Skroce as a writer and an artist.  He is a comic book cartoonist who produces graphically and visually engrossing comics, and Maestros #1 suggests that this might be his mightiest work yet.

9.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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