Never-ending, epic stories are not new in the world of comics. Some great comic projects exist that are visually appealing, have a great story but leave the readers with curiosity and a bit disappointment, as it never concludes. But the good news for the cartoonist Matt Wagner fans is, nothing like this is going to happen with his Mage series.
Thirty-Five years after the debut of Volume One “Mage: The Hero Discovered:” and 20 years after the second .”Mage: The Hero Defined”, we will get to see the final volume of the Mage series created by the renowned cartoonist Matt Wagner. The final volume will be released this week. So if you too are interested to experience the conclusion of your favorite Mage series, you must wait for “Mage: The Hero denied”.
Matt Wagner is everybody’s favorite for his amazing art of creating something interesting and unique. The work he has done for DC, Dynamite and the other publishers are loved by everyone.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best works of Wagner both written and drawn by him.
Story 1: Grendel: Devil by the Deed
Grendel is one of the most loved stories of Matt Wagner. The story follows the deeds of Grendel, a masked, twisted and brilliant assassin. This is a crime comic with a touch of horror and thrill. Sometimes, it’s a sci-fi epic as well.
If you compare all the Grendel series, the best one is Devil by the Deed, which is illustrated and written as a backup for Mage, the reason why this is certainly going to make a special place in the list of Matt Wanger’s best books. It is a crime novel. Devil by the deeds shows the ups and downs of Hunter Rose who started his journey as a lifeless juvenile to the best selling novelist to the gang lord of New York. We witness his rivalry with the supernatural defender of the city, Argent the Wolf and his aiding of a girl, Stacy Palumbo. The story describes how Stacy brings about the collapse of both Argent and Grendel.
With flowery and ornate writing and beautifully illustrated, Hunter stands out as a great comic book villain with a rare combination of boldness and intelligence.
Many Grendel stories feature Wagner as both writer and illustrator. Having said that, Matt Wanger has also written many of the Grendel stories, collaborating with different artists. But the impression that the first Grendel story left on us, no other Grendel stories have created that same impression.
Story 2: Grendel v/s the Shadow
‘Zorro and the Shadow’ makes number two on this list. This comic features the pulp heroes for Dynamite, Zorro and the Shadow. And as an addition, he brings in Grendel along with these two.
Hunter Rose discovers himself in the era of the 1930s in New York and immediately blends in with his surroundings. He tries to avoid Ennui and also to search for a path that would help him to get back to his own time. And for doing that, Grendel tries to seek the attention of the Shadow by indulging in the underworld politics. Similarly, Hunter gets close with Lamont Cranston, the alter-ego of Shadow.
If you take the review of this particular series from the readers, all will agree that the plot of this story is splendid. Also, the plot has few interesting foredobes especially for those who already know Hunter’s final fortune.
The story, narrated half by Hunter and Shadow half by the Shadow’s confidant Margo Lane provides us with some great perceptions about both the leads. Must appreciate it!
The Shadow is sinister and terrifying. On the other hand, Grendel is an impetuous angel of death. Overall, this particular series is worth falling for.
Story 3: Batman/ Superman/ Wonder Woman: Trinity War
Kind of repeated stories doesn’t really work in a series. In the year 2003. Matt Wagner astonished all his fans by giving them one of his best works “ Batman/ Superman/ Wonder Woman: Trinity War”. It was not only the best gift for the Wagner fans but also the fans of these three characters.
Batman and Superman had already met each other earlier in the series earlier. The only unknown character was Wonder Woman. Neither Batman nor Superman knew much about her. These three superheroes come together and work along when Ra’s al Ghul begins the plot to crush human civilization. To accomplish the work, he engages Bizzaro and Artemis. They were basically recruited to assist Ra’s al Ghul in his work.
If we have to choose, the best part about this series is the characters. All three characters have come out beautifully. Moreover, all three protagonists have their own different voices. The plot is quite large and contains power-packed action, where Ra’s is thinking of using nukes to bring out all the oil and satellite reserves. So, it’s action all the way. Having said that, if something really dangerous doesn’t happen, these three superheroes will not come together to save the planet. It will be unfair if we don’t mention that Matt Wagner has drawn the character of Bizarro amazingly. Probably the best you will ever see.
Story 4: Batman: Dark Moon Rising
Stretching a short story to a full mini-series is not at all easy. Especially when you have to keep it interesting as well. Creating a really good series is not at all easy. But Matt Wagner again proves that he excels at it. His other spellbound creation “Batman: Dark Moon Rising ” proves that Matt Wagner is really a genius when it comes to making a solid storyline.
“Batman: Dark Moon Rising ” is basically a combination of two miniseries. One is “Batman and the Monster Man” and the other one is “Batman and the Mad Monk”. These two mini-series come together to make a complete and solid story about the young Batman and the clash with creatures beyond his normal understanding for the first time. It also depicts the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Julie Madison, his first love interest.
Both these stories were covered in the DC comics as “ The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told”. This paperback was published at Batman’s 50th anniversary. However, these are just short stories and one gets to think 6 issues out of them will be impossible. But here comes the genius of Wagner. He builds up the characters of Julie Madison and Bruce Wayne, adds Julie’s father, a criminal and creates some huge, dramatic action scenes.
The “The Monster Men” depicts Hugo Strange’s Giant mutated humans and Batman fighting with them. On the other hand, in “Mad Monk” you will get to see Batman fighting a vampire. Must say! Wagner is the best at stabilizing this golden age madness with real character beats.
On one hand is Julie, who gets to know about her father’s criminal nature and tries to deal with it. On the other hand, Bruce is trying to deal with the feelings he has for Julie. So this particular story is a perfect depiction of Matt Wagner’s beautiful art giving us yet another great Batman story.