April 1, 2021

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Quick Hit: Destiny, NY #1 by Pat Shand and Manuel Preitano


Destiny, NY #1
Pat Shand, writer
Manuel Preitano, artist
Jim Campbell, letterer
Cover artists: Elisa Romboli, Terry Moore, and Rosi Kämpe
Published by Black Mask Studios

What happens next to the young man or woman after they save the world, defeat the evil villain, or solve the unsolvable puzzle? This is generally where the story ends, with the hero victorious and balance restored. We don’t see the hero going to college, getting a job, applying for a mortgage, etc. Now that the quest is over, we don’t really care about the hero anymore; they are the spent rocket booster that’s done its job and is no longer needed. The audience has already moved on to the next story, the next adventure. 

Logan McBride is one of these young heroes and she fulfilled her prophecy as a preteen. It isn’t clear to the readers—or even to her friends and classmates—what exactly she did. It was foretold that she would “Go into the unseen and remove untouched death” but what does that mean? Her life now involves being a grad student at Destiny University and working as a barista. You would think that after removing the untouched death, she would at least get a job at a startup. Her ex-girlfriend Bailey has just gotten engaged, she appears to be suffering from anxiety, and she doesn't really seem to have anything to look forward to. And that’s where Destiny, NY starts. 

One of the things that I really like about the world of Destiny, NY is that Destiny University and its prophesized students are known to the public. This isn’t another hidden away magic school à la Brakebills or Hogwarts. And though magic does seem to exist in this world, it doesn’t look like it is used for everyday things. Characters ride subways, live in tiny apartments, get sandwiches from bagel shops, and take vacations that they can’t really afford.

Pat Shand’s dialogue is clever, witty, and fleshes out the characters. There were several points during the book when I laughed out loud. When Gia, a friend of Logan, explains that a seer told her that she is going to defeat the most ancient evil on this plane, Gia understandably has a few questions. “…at first, I thought--they want me to kill a dark lord on a plane? How am I gonna get a sanctified sword through security, right?” And like in most colleges and universities, lust plays a major role in day-to-day life. Each character seems to have one or two active crushes going on.  

According to the Black Mask Studios, the series’ artist, Manuel Preitano, loves cats. And that love is expressed with his drawing of Brody, Logan's black cat. It’s clear that Preitano is not only a skilled artist, but one who is very familiar with feline behavior.  His linework is clean but not sterile, and he evokes both the claustrophobia of the subway and the bright genericness of American coffee chains. The cast is diverse not just in terms of race but also in regards to sexuality and body type. It’s always great to see characters with bigger bodies, and this inclusion makes perfect sense for this world as it is what you would see at any university. There are a number of sex scenes between women, but they never feel engineered for the male gaze or to be gratuitous.

When I got to the last page in this double-sized first issue, I turned the next page hoping that there was still more to read. If you like The Magicians (either the book series or the TV series), you owe it to yourself to check out Destiny NY.