It was bound to happen eventually, but I’ve finally encountered a first volume of a new series from Matt Kindt that I’ve enjoyed without reservation. “Ether” is the story of Boone Dias, a scientist who has dedicated his life to exploring the titular magical realm in order to understand how it works. See, Boone doesn’t believe in magic or the supernatural. He’s of the opinion that there are rules and explanations for everything and it’s his job as a scientist to figure out what they are. This approach has led him to solve numerous mysteries in Ether and seen him recruited to solve its latest: The death of the realm’s greatest protector the Golden Blaze. Together with his partner Glum, a giant purple ape who can kick your ass through dimensions and never gets tired of letting our protagonist know he’s an ass, Boone is determined to get to the bottom of this murder. Doing so, however, will involve finding out the origins of magic bullets, mixing it up with a copper golem, visiting the land of faeries, and most challenging of all, confronting his own personal failings back in our world.
Effectively, Kindt has made a series entirely out of addressing the biggest problem with magic in fiction. In order for magic to actually work in a story it needs a clearly defined set of rules and Boone’s whole agenda in this series is about sussing them out. He makes for an endearingly insufferable protagonist in the way he believes himself to be the smartest person in the room at any given time, which is usually true, and isn’t afraid to let anyone know it. Yet Kindt is perfectly willing to puncture that insufferability to both comedic and tragic effect. This works because the writer has been paired with a fantastic artist in David Rubin who perfectly captures the magical whimsy of Ether as well as the ground-down reality of our world. It’s easy to understand why Boone is addicted to this world after seeing it in action, and why he’d neglect his own family life to fathom its secrets. I do wonder how he wound up in his current situation in our world, as well as what his daughters think of him now, but I’m sure Kindt and Rubin have answers that will be revealed in subsequent miniseries.
Which should be announced any day now. Right Dark Horse?