Best Shots advance review: Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1 "shines the most with its superhero elements"

(Image credit: Red 5 Comics)

Spider-Man has Miles Morales. Captain Marvel has Kamala Khan. And now, arguably the first superhero of comics, Mandrake The Magician, has his very own legacy character – Mandy Paz. Though, unlike Miles and Kamala, Mandy doesn't make as much of a lasting impression in her debut.  

Legacy of Mandrake The Magician #1 credits

Written by Erica Schultz
Art by Diego Giribaldi and Ramon Bunge
Lettering by Martin Casanova
Published by Red 5 Comics
'Rama Rating: 4 out of 10

Mandy Paz is your average teenage girl trying to balance her life as a magician and student. Writer Erica Schultz hits all of the familiar high school superhero tropes - there's the mean girl, the best friend, the worried mother, but without any of the unique perspective to suggest on how this series will be different from the other plethora of high school superhero stories.

The reason Mandy feels so surface level is because the premiere doesn't take the time to fully flesh out her supporting characters. What makes the mean girl different from a Regina George archetype? Her best friend is a superhero with her, but how did he become this hero?

(Image credit: Red 5 Comics)

The first conversation Mandy has with her mother is about her future college career. This helps the audience understand that Mandy doesn't want to take the typical teenage route with her life, but it loses the opportunity to see her relationship with her mother on a deeper level.

We are quickly thrust into her relationship with her mentor (who is trapped in her room's mirror), without much context of how they connected – making the legacy aspect of the series feel a bit hollow.  

On the artwork, Ramon Bunge's coloring is a standout. It's completely mesmerizing to watch Mandy's rainbow-colored hair combine with her blasts and spells. It gives a unique visual for Mandy's powerset, and makes every action piece compelling. But sadly, Diego Giribaldi's pencils aren't as strong as Bunge's colorwork. Mandy's facial expressions are at times overly expressive, and there's no visually intriguing element in Mandy's civilian life to make those scenes pop like her super-heroics.  

Legacy of Mandrake The Magician #1 shines the most with its superhero elements - from her character design to Mandy's powerset, but Schultz fails to translate that intrigue into Mandy's characterization and high school life. The series plays it a bit too safe for this to be a memorable debut.

Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1 goes on sale October 28.

Kat Calamia

Kat has been working in the comic book industry as a critic for over a decade with her YouTube channel, Comic Uno. She’s been writing for Newsarama since 2017 and also currently writes for DC Comics’ DC Universe - bylines include IGN, Fandom, and TV Guide. She writes her own comics with her titles Like Father, Like Daughter and They Call Her…The Dancer. Calamia has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and minor in Journalism through Marymount Manhattan and a MFA in Writing and Producing Television from LIU Brooklyn.