The Occultist #1 of 5 Review

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OccultistPut simply, by artist Mike Norton, what if Peter Parker became Doctor Strange? Balancing his life as a college student and that of wielder of The Sword, a magical book that has bound itself to him, Rob Bailey must properly learn to use his new found power to protect the living AND the dead, before his enemies take the power from him.

Tim Seely’s story is cracking great fun, with a fair amount of spooks, and quite a few laughs. His characters are always well-rounded, and here it is the same. Rob Bailey is a very likeable character, one that you can’t help but root for. The story itself has a lot of potential, but if you are unfamiliar with the characters and over all plot, this is a bad jumping on point because Seely rushes head on into the action with no background given. It’s relatively easy to get into though, if you don’t mind missing a few references. Other than that one problem, the rest is just gravy. Seely starts off in the middle of the action, in what I’m sure will come to be known as a classic scene, but intertwines it with knowledge of the importance of Rob Bailey’s abilities. There’s a bit of foreshadowing at the end, that I have a feeling will be of major important as the series progresses.

Mike Norton’s art is fun as always, with a perfect mix of cartoony and realistic, and he masters these characters instantly. His facial expressions are spot on, just exaggerated enough to fit the tone of the comic. His art really shines in the scenes where Rob is casting spells. It is easily on par with Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange, and I say that as a HUGE Ditko Strange fan. And man, can he draw dead babies.

The color work of Allen Passalaqua makes the book pop! It’s bright in places where it needs to be, and dingy in others, and fits the mood that Seely and Norton created.

The creative team brings you right into Rob’s world, and it is a scary place indeed. But what’s scarier, exams or demons? I guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out.

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