I love the Magic comic books.
As someone who has every issue of every released comic, I always look for the compendium, the anthology of all the issues of a particular series. I grew up in a small town, and collecting versions and variant covers was an impossible feat. When I graduated college, I began looking for anthologies, the complete series of comics such that I could read a graphic novel when I had time, and not worry about missing an issue.
If you missed the Complete Collection Hardcover, I feel for you. They aren't printing any more of them, and they are ridiculous to find even on the used book market. I snap picked one up, and I'm grateful for it. It's a resource I've referred to dozens of times.
This new complete Chandra series trade paperback was offered to me by IDW to look over, and I offered to write a little review of it. Clearly since I have a copy, I'm not without bias, though take that into consideration complete with my passion for collecting these copies as a balance.
It looks like this, and it is very cool.
Comics give us a glimpse into the characters we only see briefly on cards in the Magic: The Gathering game. Character development we see slowly, with postulate entries into daily life debated on Tumblr, with cosplayers dressing as planeswalkers in daily wear. Unlike the Theros comics, Chandra gives readers a deep dive into who she is, her moral dilemmas hinted at in online snippets and interactions between characters.
The fan service of allowing Chandra to face off against Tibalt is exactly what the core demographic who buys comics wanted to see. Frankly, anything with Tibalt is what the Vorthos psychographic of fans wants to consume with glee. He is the worst playable planeswalker, a test in making a two-mana planeswalker.
Yet by doing so, has become the best. Akin to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team being so bad they're cool, Tibalt is beloved because he is marginal yet has gained a life online of bravado despite being inadequate.
I wrote on how the five colors of Magic show love and Red was always the hardest to explain. Yes, it is passion. Yes, it is raw emotion. But in making a game's mechanics, explaining how it's full passion, no reservations, like an obsessed teenager hasn't been fully explored yet. Neither has Red's perspective on love and family, that is, until now. Chandra's relationship with her mother Pia is examined in the comic series and it's a refreshing change of pace from a collectible card game based on a duel between two wizards. It makes her character matter more, it gives her depth. I care more about her now because I know more.
Chandra #4, the final in the series, is in comic book shops everywhere now. With the Complete Series hitting shelves soon, make sure to reserve one. They tend to go quick and often are not reprinted.
Good luck and enjoy learning about our favorite hot-headed planeswalker.