Muirwood: The Lost Abbey #1 is part of a new five-issue series published by Jet City Comics. Jeff Wheeler, who has written the Muirwood series in a traditional book setting, has brought over the Muirwood world to the world of comics.
But, that doesn’t mean the crossover crossed over seamlessly. There is good and there is bad to the story. Teamed up with Wheeler, is Jack of Fables and Shadowpact writer Matt Sturges and also Fables: The Wolf Among Us writer Dave Justus. Alex Sheikman, artist of Robotika teamed up with co-artist of Dark Crystal: Creation Myth Lizzy John to illustrate the story.
For a five-issue spread the storyline sinks to intricate depth straight from the very start. The main character Maia has a complicated backstory, which is reiterated constantly, whether by internal narration or exposition with other characters. There is less focus on building the story than creating a mystical vibe around Maia. But there are plot holes underlying at every turn. As a character who is supposed to be condemned for using magic, she uses it in public without repercussion. The complexity of who can use magic and who can’t isn’t explained at all. The language is often clunky and does not provide flow.
Still, the attempt is admirable. To convert an epic quest into a comic is a task itself, but the true error of the ways lies in the fact that it is only contained in a five-issue arch, and a story of this capacity doesn’t fit in such a small space.
The artwork offers some illumination to the enchanted world Wheeler and company excessively fleshes out. The colors and technique used in the panels where Maia confronts a roving gang of boys beating up on another is simply fantastic to look at. It complements the heavy use of green that runs throughout the pages, texturing the world of Comoros with a dark forest vibe.
Despite the heavy material fronted in this first issue, many questions are left unanswered and will likely cause the second issue to be picked up just as much for some of those answers. Being introduced to so many people who are all affecting each other and not knowing the motivations for it will surely cause a series of questions to be asked. What did the women – and who are the women- that abused the Medium that resulted in all women being banned? Are the women the much feared Dochte Mandar? These questions, and many more will plague your mind as much as they plague the kingdom of Comoros.
Muirwood: The Lost Abbey #1 is available in your local comic book shop, for digital download at Comixology and the Amazon Kindle Store on August 26.