Review: Mystik U #1

There is something foul in the air at Mystik University, and it isn’t that none of the frat brothers have cleaned up the puke behind the couch from last weekend’s kegger. Think of it as DC’s answer to another famous school where wizards are trained in England. As with that other magical academy, there is a dark secret haunting the classrooms and dealing with it will have a high price.

A magical entity, known as The Malevolence has defeated and killed most of the magical heros of the DC universe. Rose Psychic and Zatanna combine their magics to essentially perform a reset to get a second chance to defeat this evil entity. Unfortunately as a side effect, they lose all the knowledge they have of The Malevolence during the reset.

Jump back to seven years ago, when Zatanna’s magical power explode on the scene, Rose Psychic (who shares a body with her husband, Dr. Occult) transports Zatanna to Mystik University. There she meets others who either have their own raw magic abilities, like her roommate, June Moone, or they are the children of the famous magical heros and villians of the DC Universe. Sometimes they are both.

Zatanna works to fit intothe school and there are the unexpected hijinks that always occur when young adults get together and explore their place in the world. But not all is happy magic and blobby mystical monsters who turn out to be friendly. The faculty know that The Malevolence exists and is a threat, but not which of the students will become the danger. Some of them suspect that Zatanna is the menace, but it might be June, who sometimes goes all goth and wants to be called Enchantress.

Alisa Kwitney (Destiny) and Mike Norton (Runaways) are certainly having their fun with this book. They fill it with a lot of in-jokes for long time DC readers like the brothers Cain and Abel who work as part of the administration staff in the campus buildings known as The House of Secrets and The House of Mystery. They are also freely pulling from DC’s long history of magical heros for the school’s professors, such as Mr. E and Madame Xanadu. But they balance the light-hearted aspects with the growing creepiness of the threat to the students.

Still the core of this book is the students. While the first issue focuses on Zatanna, I’m hoping that we will see her friends Sebastian Faust, Enchantress, Sargon the (soon to be) Sorcerer and newcomer Pia Morales each get a chance to step to the foreground and not just be her Scoobies. It is interesting to roll these characters back and give the readers the story of how the come to be the characters we’ve become familiar with.

Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artist: Mike Norton
Cover Art: Julian Totino Tedesco

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