Friday, October 28, 2016

Retrospective: Sorcery 101

Look a post!  That isn't on the first friday of the month.  What sorcery is this?  Well, about that. . .

Sorcery 101 ended last week and I felt I needed to write this up as soon as I could because I have a few things to say about it.

Let me start off by saying it isn't a bad comic, but there was something missing.  Even back in my reposting of the original review (which added a current comments) I noticed I wasn't quite getting into it that much and at the time I couldn't understand why.  I do now because in ending, it made it all the more obvious.

It does have a rich and involved world.  There's lots of characters, interactions, magic, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, monsters, bureaucracy and all that detailed out and played with to one extent or another.  There's a lot of good characters, their motivations and goals well spelled out, and some with eternal mysteries (what hell is up with Seth anyway?).  It's got a lot going for it and I think when I started reading it I expected it to go somewhere grand.

It never did.

The ending spelled it out because, well, it just kind of happened.  There was no grand battle, or plot to foil.  There was no mystery revealed or legend confronted.  There was some minor fighting, a car crash and a death, but nothing else.  And then the comic is over.

To an extent, I suspect that this is kind of on purpose, it was just supposed to be the daily lives of these people in this strange world.  Urban fantasy without the world destroying plots or heroics.  Just everyday living.  And that's fine, it did it pretty well, but constantly it was being driven as if there WAS more going on, hints and tips abound, mysteries running through, plot threads seemed to be drawing out.  Yet nothing was done with it, and while some ends were kind of resolved, for the most part if the last chapter happened after the first, I don't think anyone would have noticed.

I think the best way to put it is that Sorcery 101 feels more like the prologue to another story.  It's setting up the world, the characters, the major players and their motivations, and in the NEXT comic, that's when the interesting stuff happens.  But there is no next comic, this is it.  And considering it's been going for 11 years, at this point next comic was never going to happen.

Again, it's not BAD because of that, it's just not fulfilling.  The only bit of the ending that was interesting is the reflection of the first and last page of the comic.  Beyond that I think this is a comic I will just remember as one I used to read, and nothing more.

Next time, which should be next week, should see the next part of The Successor.  Until then kiddies.  Oh and happy Halloween.


  1. Just found this blog. I agree. The ending was such a disappointment. I don't mind that it didn't have a happy ending. I really stopped caring about the story when Brad died and his death wasn't given closure. So much felt like was just dusted under the rug like it didn't matter and the author stopped caring about her own work. What will happen when the Dark Lady returns? What will Danny do? I really don't care.

    We might not see Doctor McNinja again, he didn't get the happy ending, either. But his ending is at least fulfilling. He got his big fight. He found the President. He might never get to see his family, friends, and adopted son, because he had to unmask himself to save the President. He got his moment to shine and do what he needed to do. Even with the threat of Sparklelord coming back in some future, there is this hope that the McNinjas or Gordito or someone within the world would rise to the task. For Sorcery 101, it was just depressing and left me wondering why I got invested in something that had no hope for its own future and characters left more broken then when they started.

  2. I agree. I think the Cal story arc was the turning point where Kel lost all interest in the comic and decided to just end things. It's all too pat - why introduce this new big bad, killing off Rita and Cal-as-we-knew-him, just to have it resolved in a couple pages (off-screen, no less!) with the main protagonists locked in a room while Mr. Tamura steps out for a spate of angel-killing?

    I think Kel'd originally planned for Cal to stick around, to choose 'compromise' instead of 'oblivion'. I think the rest of Danny's arc - touching the knife, the nightmares, blocking Seth out of his mind - would have happened as an undercurrent to Ally's big revenge plot. And I think Brad was going to die in that battle instead - Ally losing much more than she bargained for while seeking revenge, just like her mother before her.

    Then there's the plot threads that were just abandoned. How the heck will Connor get out from under Seth's thumb? What happens to their developing wolf pack - they're down to four members, one of them a small child. Did Seth have any compelling reason to turn a prince immortal, with all the risks that came with that, instead of just finding a desperate civilian to manipulate? Did Danny just have more magical potential than most? Why did Pat kill those people when he was first turned? What we see in flashbacks certainly points to a well-formed reason, not blind bloodlust. What even is Mr. Tamura, anyway?

    Argh. Sorcery 101 is one of those stories where the author got tired of it long before we did. I'm holding on to hope that she'll flesh these characters lives later in side-stories, but I fear if she got sick of writing them that she won't come back. I hate that feeling.