Son of Merlin #5 Review

A young scholar discovers that’s not that he’s not as “normal” as he thought.  Rather, he’s the heir to a magical lineage.  Sound familiar?  When Son of Merlin decided to tackle a premise that’s been explored in-depth by other writers, it needed to bring its “A” game to ensure something new.  And it almost did.

Here’s the official description from IDW:

CONCLUSION! Dr. Simon Ambrose, MIT professor and heir to Merlin’s magic legacy, has fled from the vengeful Morgana long enough. Now it is time to stand his ground and fight. But will inherited talent and his cursory understanding of Merlin’s diaries be enough to conquer a mage of Morgana’s level and might?

Despite a premise which, at a distance, might read like an grown-up version of another human-turned-wizard story we’ve all heard before, Son of Merlin seemed intent on pushing further.  Here’s the backdrop: MIT professor Simon Ambrose discovers he’s the bastard son of Merlin and has inherited his father’s magic and enemies as a result.  Set in the modern world, where bullets and magic mix, this felt like a rad reboot of a familiar idea but things started to go “Meh” almost immediately.

Writer Robert Place Napton is no stranger to the fantasy genre and Son of Merlin #5 is certainly more than competent when it comes to presenting a tightly crafted story and buttoned-up narrative arc. Yes, everything fits, and everything gets answered by the end, but the overall impression of this run is flat. Why?  Ultimately, neither Simon nor his cover girl sidekick Gwen get developed. They get plenty of scenes and plenty of action, but their inner worlds get nowhere close to the attention that the magical world they’re forced to navigate gets.

I dig the art.  Zid tries for a timeliness painted feel and it works well given the story, and the premise.  It’s a little precious and a little feathery at times (the closing panel looks like the still shot from a Banana Republic catalog), but overall beautiful and capturing.

I wanted a little more from Son of Merlin #5.  I wanted emotional closure, not just plot consistency.  But  if the last page is any indicator, it looks like Image might be giving it another try.  And maybe soon.




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