Friday March 8, 2013
Worlds of Wonder
By KALEON RAHAN
A new miniseries from Image features the detailed, cinematic artwork of homegrown talent Zid.
Son Of Merlin #1 (of 6)
(Top Cow/Image), US$1
Writer: Robert Napton
Artist: Mohammad Yazid @ Zid
SON of who? Is this a spin-off of the hit British TV show? Has Image run out of ideas? What’s so special about this one to deserve a review in this column?
If these or similar questions came to mind when you first turned to this page, rest assured that there is a reason for this feature, and it lies with Malaysian artist Mohammad Yazid, a.k.a. Zid.
With his work on this title, Zid has achieved his mainstream comics breakthrough. He joins the ranks of other Malaysians who, over the last decade, have gradually “infiltrated” the pages of the Marvel and DC Universes.
Their achievement should certainly be a source of inspiration for the host of aspiring Jim Lees in this part of the world.
Let’s look at the comic first: Son Of Merlin is an extension of the Arthurian legend into the present day, with Merlin living among us and continuing his eternal battle with Morgana Le Fay.
Morgana appears to triumph over her old enemy but soon finds that she has a new adversary in Dr Simon Ambrose – Merlin’s illegitimate son!
Simon is the youngest professor in MIT and is armed with a double Ph.D – in Environmental Science and Physics.
He is a man of science and initially not worthy of Morgana’s attention, until Merlin’s act of transferring his powers and diary to his son puts Simon on her radar.
Obviously, passing the torch to a “mystical infidel” results in awkward situations, especially when Simon is guided by a hot babe named Gwen, who was Merlin’s apprentice.
Simon’s reluctance to embrace his destiny is put to the test when Morgana’s minions come a-calling and this is where his journey into the realm of magic begins.
Even if you feel that this “Man of Science becomes Man of the Mystic Arts” plot is nothing new, what makes this worth a second look is the transplanting of a medieval adventure to a modern environment.
It is mesmerising, thanks to Zid’s illustrations. His attention to detail (check out the backdrops in every scene) and his play with panels and perspective in telling the story make this a very encouraging mainstream debut for him.
Of course, the Top Cow “house style” is also very much in evidence, which guarantees a certain level of quality in this title. On the script front, Napton’s experience from writing John Carter and Red Sonja comes in handy in delivering this mystical tale with sci-fi elements.
Fingers crossed that the next five issues will focus more on fleshing out these interesting characters that have been served up to us in this debut issue, especially Gwen and her “relationship” with Merlin.
Comic artist Zid is living his childhood dream