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Immortal X-Men's Kieron Gillen pulls the curtain back to reveal the world (and the cast) of Image Comics' The Power Fantasy

Meet Jacky Magus; he's the most powerful magician alive (and also a creep)

The Power Fantasy - Jacky Magus
Image credit: Caspar Wijngaard/Image Comics

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You’ll remember that Immortal X-Men and The Wicked + The Divine writer — not to mention, upcoming NYCC guest — Kieron Gillen unveiled his new X-Men-But-Make-It-HBO comic book series at Emerald City Comic Con earlier this year… and now with the launch of The Power Fantasy just a month away, it’s time to reveal more about the world inside the series… and one of the people who inhabit that world.

"The Power Fantasy is a story about six people with the power to destroy the world — Watchmen with six Doctor Manhattans, who know direct conflict is the lose state for everyone, and except the cold alien distance of Jon is replaced with six messy, messy people,” Gillen explained. “We've also talked a bit about how it's set in an alternate Earth, that divulges from Earth history in 1945, when the first powered individuals appeared. Because while our six cast — ‘the Superpowers’ — are by far the biggest kids on the block, there's a lot of other, lesser ones. Not superheroes (it's not sort of book) but some people can fly. Not very many, but some.”

The Power Fantasy - Jacky Magus
Image credit: Caspar Wijngaard/Image Comics

Although one single event changes everything in 1945, The Power Fantasy has “three sorts of origins,” the writer teases. “One is having a direct relationship to an extraplanar source — such as our angel Valentina and definitely-not-an-angel Eliza Hellbound. They're the rarest. In fact, they're the only two on Earth. Then there's the Atomics — who we've introduced with Etienne Lux, Heavy and Masumi. These are people who've gained gifts spontaneously post 1945. There's quite a few of these, enough to be a small demographic.  Then there's a third group — who are most common. Magicians.”

Yes, actual magicians. It all goes back to the mid-20th century again…

“Something happened in 1945, along with everything else: Magic started working. Not ‘returned.’ Started working for the first time ever,” Gillen said. “Not a huge effect, but enough to turn the dial up on party tricks. It wasn't easy to learn, but with a lot of time and effort, you can do stuff. It's philosophically interesting, and has led to a lot of weird physics research, but it's nothing which was actually powerful. Until Jacky Magus properly emerged in the 1970s, and suddenly magic was the real deal. At least, for him, and those who chose to join him in his organization — The Pyramid.”

This feels like a good time to let everyone see this, doesn’t it?

The Power Fantasy - Jacky Magus
Image credit: Caspar Wijngaard/Image Comics

“Jacky keeps his secrets tight, but if you join the Pyramid and climb his organization, you can get abilities. Joining the Pyramid — or having artifacts supplied to them — is the only way one may actively become a being with extra-normal abilities,” he continues. “Of course, there are costs. There always are.”

Here’s some of series co-creator Caspar Wijngaard’s design work for the character, to tease out some more clues about what to expect from Jacky:

The Power Fantasy - Jacky Magus
Image credit: Caspar Wijngaard/Image Comics

When it comes to the inspiration behind the character, Gillen shares, “Jacky was around quietly since the 60s, but his inspiration is definitely 1970s. He's a first generation Indian immigrant to the UK (I mentioned Eliza was a squat-punk, and yes, there's a strong connection there). Like everyone's names are meant to ape the names of musicians in the period, Jacky's name is meant to ape that slightly snotty 1970s punk name. Johnny Rotten was a big influence in my thinking... specifically, him in his later years. When he's turned from that young firebrand to a guy who sells butter. Or, in Magus' case, weapons. Because Magus' politics have changed. After what went down in 1989, he moved right. He's got strong connections with the US government, for example.”

He went on, “I’ve said the pop cultural reference, but if you want it in [a] comic book one? John Constantine meets Doctor Doom. John Constantine meets Doctor Doom... who sold out. You may have noticed I keep on mentioning 1989, right? We'll get there in time."

And with that tease, it’s time to remind you that The Power Fantasy #1 will arrive in stores August 7, from Image Comics — and perhaps time to share this unlettered page from Wijngaard, too. Because you can’t have too many teases, really, can you?

The Power Fantasy #1
Image credit: Caspar Wijngaard/Image Comics

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Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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