Title: Mage: The Hero Denied #9
Writer/Artist/Cover: Matt Wagner
Publication Date: June 13, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: “Matt Wagner’s classic saga of comics fantasy continues in the third and final part of his epic MAGE trilogy. Disaster has finally struck and torn Kevin Matchstick’s family apart, leaving him bewildered and grief stricken. He desperately searches for any trace of where his loved ones might be held hostage, or if they are even still alive. Meanwhile, the sinister Gracklethorns are faced with their own family dilemma as the Umbra Mother reacts to mystical turmoil. Will Kevin at last find help…and the guidance he now needs even more urgently than ever? MAGE: THE HERO DENIED is a 15-issue limited series climaxing in a double-sized finale. Considered by many to be creator MATT WAGNER’s masterpiece, MAGE has been an inspiration to many contemporary creators and a perennial favorite with old and new readers alike for decades.”
In Mage: The Hero Denied #9, Kevin’s family is split in two, as his wife and son are trapped with the Gracklethorns. To unite his family, Kevin seeks out the goblins, using Excalibur to extract information for the pesky beings. Unfortunately, the goblins are unable to give him much information and Kevin must pursue other avenues. In the meantime, his wife and son are stuck in what appears to be a hotel suite, where the television only plays three channels and the food is dangerous to eat. Will Kevin find his family and save the day?
Family is at the core of Wagner’s story, a fact that really shines in this issue. Kevin Matchstick is the everyday guy, even though he wields Excalibur. Kevin must not only save his wife and son, but figure out how to take care of his daughter, all while embarking on a dangerous quest. He turns to his sister-in-law for help in locating his missing family, but is faced with more questions than answers. Unable to locate them or leave his daughter in his sister-in-law’s safety, Kevin presses on with his quest, daughter in toe. It is Kevin’s connection to his family, and Wagner’s ability to craft an emotional bond, that makes this issue a stand-out. Complicating this issue is the potential for Kevin’s son to be permanently trapped in the prison. How will Kevin find his family, and save his son? The path is still murky for our unlikely hero.
Wagner’s world is consistently well-crafted, the various settings are balanced to create a complex world. The hotel suite style prison, is an inspired creation, creating yet another world within this series. And the potential to never save his son adds another obstacle that Kevin will have to face.
The Bottom Line:
Wagner builds tension in Mage: The Hero Denied #9, complicating Kevin’s quest with twists and turns. Family is still at the heart of the series, but it is uncertain if Kevin’s family will forever be torn apart.