Comicbook Review: Magic Cop by Phillip Diaz
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to our second comicbook review! We are going on a fantastic adventure to the 1980s in a fictional Miami-like city named "Ambrosia." Today we are reviewing Phillip Diaz's comicbook called "Magic Cop: Drop Dead Legs".
Like in our previous review, we will be scoring this comic on 3 factors: Presentation, Art, and Writing. And just like last time we will average out those scores for a final total. Before we hop in, just remember that this review may contain spoilers. To skip them, you may go to the bottom of the review for the final totals.
Magic Cop is a story about Ignatus Cromwell, a new-comer to the Ambrosia Police Department. He joins as a magic cop into a police unit called KNITE, which deals with various illegal activities typically involving magic. Within the first week at his job, Ignatus, partnered with the werewolf named Greywolf Silvermoon, they take on a homicide case to investigate a mutilated mermaid. The comic takes heavy inspiration from 80's police action shows and films, and takes heavy inspiration from Miami Vice, and brilliantly mixes in various modern fantasy and Halloween-ish elements.
Presentation: Creativity is like a puzzle. Each piece is it's own unique element that you place to create a fantastic new picture. This comicbook does that wonderfully. Mixing in 80's action cop elements with "Halloween" and "Holiday" flavors is brilliant. One story setting I feel has not been commonly explored is usage of magic in modern civilization. The setting here, while keeps magic fairly tempered, is a great example of how to incorporate magic in a modern setting. Sure, many questions of the use of magic are brought up, but could be explored in future installments of Magic Cop if this continues as a series.
This comicbook has 4 chapters spread across roughly 92 pages. The first 4 or 5 pages of it gives off this "TV Intro" sequence which I thought was clever. This IGG project came with a bunch of goodies as well. When ordering the physical copy, I received:
Zaid Comics promo card for “The Lost Pages”
Magic Cop Papercraft Project
This set me back only $35, including a $10 shipping fee. I'd say this is a very fair price for what you're getting.
My only gripe with the formatting is that there is no page count, which any other day I wouldn't have noticed, but reviewing the comic makes it a little challenging.
As much as I hate to say it, most of the artwork is amateurish. The anatomy and perspective is off in a lot of areas. You'll see this throughout the review. But first lets go over some of the character designs. You'll first realize almost everyone seems to be wearing a pair of shades of some sort. While this definitely fits the theme, it creates a challenge of effectively expressing emotion.
The main character, Ignatus Cromwell, is basically "James Crockett" from Miami Vice.
Except he has a wand and the sleeves of his jacket are like that of a wizard. Ignatus is a recent transplant into the Ambrosia Police Department. He seems to have a cocky, rebellious attitude, almost like a "loose-cannon cop who doesn't play by the rules." His family line is well-known throughout the policing community which gives him an innate reputation.
Then you have Greywolf Silvermoon (right) and Helda (left.) Greywolf is a werewolf version of "Ricardo Tubbs", except he's on the verge of retirement. Helda is a "Caldron Witch". She's meant to be a sexy kind of witch, however the artwork done to her is inconsistent, which in some panels makes her as appealing as blue cheese.
Then there's the seasonal villain, Bone-Daddy-O, aka Psycho Pomp, aka The Ferrymon. He's essentially a skeleton with a Jamaican accent who runs the mermaid prostitution ring.
And of course we have other unique side-characters, including the half leprechaun, half giant Ohara, the medusa character, Madam 5th, and Kufi, who seems to be a Hawaiian henchman, kind of a more roguish version of Uncle Tito from "Rocket Power."
You may have noticed with the above that the linework may not have been made by an expert in the comics industry. However, I am a huge fan of the coloring.
Reading the comic, you may come across many issues with anatomy and perspective.
Here are a few examples:
Right: The finger, and the hand here is completely misshapen, and the pose on the right arm is off.
Left: You'll also see in further examples that the head, and particularly the mouth, are also oddly drawn.
Not only the anatomy is an issue, but the scenery also needs some work. For instance in these two shots, the use of the vanishing point lines don't seem to be utilized properly and creates a very awkward perspective. The buildings look slanted, and the cars look comically larger than they should be. I also observed a few issues with the action poses.
This one for example, the attempted perspective of this goon about to tackle Ignatus is completely off. The legs look like 'spaghetti,' and his torso is elongated.
Then with the side character of Kufi, he' supposed to be running as he knocks over a waitress. However, his pose makes it look like he's doing a brisk jog. If his body was leaning forward and his arms were posed as if he shoved her aside, it would be more believable.
There was also a nice attempt made to add a filter for scenes depicting past events. While an interesting idea, it left a dizzying feeling while reading. The artwork in these scenes has a blurry filter to it, which is a little rough on the eyes.
The artist, Brandon Diaz seems to be an amateur, sure. There are a lot of points to improve on, including perspective, anatomy, and posing. But I do commend any artist willing to step up and draw, regardless of their experience. However, there are quite a few impressive pieces to be had here, especially in the later half of the comic.
Like here when Ignatus gets dropped into the water as he's being attacked by a mermaid. The colorist, Eugenu Betivu, seems to know how to evoke emotion thanks to his coloring and lighting.
I'm also impressed by the photograph of the gruesome murder of the mermaid in the earlier pages, as well as the expression Ignatus makes when he's surprised by Hela. This seems like the only time I really felt an emotion from the main character here.
I feel these artists would be great at doing abstract and horror themes.
I also want to mention a few innovative examples of paneling made in this comicbook.
One is the use of lettering. This panel with "VROOM" has the artwork made inside the lettering.
And then you have a brilliant use of a background panel, with other panels overlaid on top of it. (Another example can be seen above with the depiction of an Asian district.)
Overall, I feel there is a lot to improve on with the linework. The coloring does carry the artwork a bit, especially in certain panels, and the use of paneling is very innovative. However, the linework itself drags the quality down a lot, if I were to be perfectly honest.
Now lets talk about the story. A New Detective (Ignatus Cromwell) joins a detective unit called “Ambrosia KNITE” (Khem, Necromancy, Invocation, Trafficking, Enforcement.) His father is well known which increases expectations upon him. Unwilling to play by the rules and to upstage the homicide department on his first week, he picks up a murder case. With his werewolf partner, Ignatus finds a key lead to an illegal prostitution ring involving mermaids, who are paying a skeleton pimp through his ring in exchange for clipping their fins for legs.
I love this story. It's very creative, mixes a lot of interesting elements together, and isn't something you'd see. This is also a very unique twist on a organ-harvesting and prostitution ring plot.
The intro to this story feels very organic in how it introduces the characters. There's no forced exposition or narration. The dialogue between the characters is well done. You can definitely get a handle of each character and their personality. There's also a bit of fun banter.
There's also some good character development with Ignatus and Greywolf. Ignatus has to overcome his anxiety and the pressure he faces using his magic. Greywolf has a traumatic backstory with his family that he had to overcome as well.
There were a few moments where the writing needed a second pass. Like the scene where Ignatus and Greywolf are interrogating a doctor. Ignatus switches from being accusatory to a 'good cop' when Greywolf also starts pointing the finger, all within the same scene.
Final Score Tally:
Presentation – 8
Art – 4
Writing – 7
Total: 6 /10
Here is my final score. While the writing, and the theme were strong, the artwork dragged the quality down quite a bit. I did notice improvements to the linework at the end, which is always welcome to see an artist improve on their work, and the coloring was done really well.
While physical copies seem to be unavailable, you can still go view their IndieGoGo campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/magic-cop-drop-dead-legs-comic/x/7479414#/
There's also a sequel in development! Go ahead and subscribe for their updates over at:
This comic was produced by Zaid Comics: http://zaidcomics.com/
Written by: Phillip Diaz
Artwork: Brandon Diaz
Coloring: Eugenu Betivu
Next time, we will be reviewing an adorable 'horror themed childrens comic' by ThatUmbrellaGuy's "The Case of the Littlest Umbrella" ! Stay tuned!
If you enjoyed this review, don't forget to subscribe for alerts to other new blog posts. And, please follow us on Gab!