Arabian Nights (comic)

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For the set, see Arabian Nights.
Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights 1.jpg
Publication information
Publisher ARMADA
Publication period December, 1995 - January, 1996
Number of issues 2
Character(s) Taysir
Creative team
Writer(s) Susan Wright
Jeofrey Vita
Editor(s) Jeffrey Gómez
Bob Layton
Penciller(s) Alexander Maleev
Inker(s) Rodney Ramos
Letterer(s) Adam Niedzwiecki
Colorist(s) Michael Tuccinard
Preceded By
N/A
Followed By
Antiquities War

Arabian Nights is a two-part comic miniseries that tells the story of the Arabian Nights set. It was published in 1995 and 1996 by ARMADA.

Volume 1: A Time to Gather[edit | edit source]

Plot[edit | edit source]

The comic opens abruptly with a panel showing a well-dressed man murdering an unarmed man in the forest of Fa'adiyah, while an inhuman figure hovers over the scene. As the survivor slices his palm and mixes his blood with that of the dead man, he begins to experience and is overwhelmed by the dead man's memories. He cries out to the floating figure, introduced as Nailah. She addresses him as her Apprentice and admonishes him for his weakness. She explains that "the lore of the ancients foretells of the one made of five... destined to become the most powerful sorcerer ever known," and that though there are "thousands" of Rabiahs, there is only a single person throughout them that exists only five times. That person, Taysir, was both of the men shown in the first panel.

Nailah and Taysir then use the Ring of Ma'Rûf to seek out the next copy of Taysir. Upon finding him, living as a Nomad in the desert of Karun,[a] the Apprentice Taysir rebels. He thrusts the Ring into the Nomad's hands, implores him not to harm the other Taysirs, and attacks Nailah to allow the Nomad to escape. The Nomad uses the Ring and is transported to the bazaar of Bassorah.[b] There, the Nomad Taysir finds the next iteration of himself, a Dervish, living alongside a leper named Raghib. Raghib recognizes the Ring, and blames Nailah for inflicting leprosy upon him after he betrayed her.

Meanwhile, the Apprentice is shown, imprisoned in a magical oubliette in Nailah's keep. He remains haunted by the Shepherd Taysir's memories, and Nailah taunts him, saying that she should have chosen the Nomad to begin with. She reveals her intent to use the fully-united Taysir to become "queen of all Rabiahs", and extend her rule "beyond time and space".

Back in the bazaar, Nailah appears and tempts the Nomad to slay the Dervish, but the Nomad recalls the Apprentice's parting words and refuses. The Nomad attacks Nailah, as does Raghib, who reveals himself to be Nailah's betrothed. While Raghib and Nailah confront each other, the Nomad, now gravely wounded, implores the Dervish to take his life and escape to find the final Taysir. The Dervish and Raghib use the Ring once more to escape to the castle of El-Hajjâj, where the last Taysir should be found.[c]

Extras[edit | edit source]

Following the comic are two additional features. Shahrazad's Tales is introduced as a letters page for the miniseries, and in this first issue, details the creation of the comic, its context within the game's story, its relationship to the set of the same name, and briefly describes the game itself. Taysir is noted as having previously appeared in the third and fourth issues of Ice Age on the World of Magic: The Gathering, and is promised to appear in the upcoming Homelands graphic novel. It also includes an advertisement for the upcoming Convocations - A Magic: The Gathering Gallery#1.

The second feature, Seer Analysis, explicitly links the story to game concepts and cards. It links the five Taysirs to the five colors: the Apprentice to black, the Nomad to red, the Shepherd to green, the Dervish to white, and the Baby (not introduced in this volume) to blue. It further names Nailah as the Sorceress Queen; reveals that the Baby is trapped within a City in a Bottle within the castle of El-Hajjâj; points out the usage of Sandstorm, Oubliette, and the Ring of Ma'rûf within the plot; and recommends using Howl from Beyond with El-Hajjâj.

Volume 2: And Then There Was One[edit | edit source]

Plot[edit | edit source]

The Dervish Taysir and Raghib arrive on a cliff overlooking the castle of El-Hajjâj, which appears to be submerged in a lake. However, Raghib touches the water and recognizes it for an illusion, which the Dervish dispels using magic he acquired from the Nomad.

Raghib and the Dervish descend into the castle and begin searching for El-Hajjâj's workshop. Along the way, Raghib reveals much of the background to the story. He tells that El-Hajjâj was Nailah's father, and that El-Hajjâj had sought to protect the last variant of Taysir from those who would abuse his potential. However, Nailah placed a compulsion upon Raghib, and compelled him to assist her in betraying her father. In the ensuing duel, Raghib had believed that the final Taysir had also been killed. Raghib explains that Nailah's hold on him prevents him from using his own magic to escape her curse, and that his final act as her pawn was to bring the Apprentice Taysir to her.

When they find the workshop, they find a city in a bottle, which the Dervish opens against Raghib's warning. El-Hajjâj emerges from a nearby room and greets the pair. El-Hajjâj glosses over his daughter's betrayal and the fight that followed, saying only that he is now bound to this Rabiah, and cannot travel to any of the others. He implores the Dervish to enter the bottle and subsume the Taysir within. The Dervish finds the Baby Taysir within the bottle, and though aghast, proceeds to sacrifice the child.

The Dervish, Raghib, and El-Hajjâj travel to confront Nailah. The Dervish shatters the bars of the oubliette imprisoning the Apprentice, and Nailah ambushes him. El-Hajjâj demands she cease her actions, which briefly distracts her, but she resumes her attack. She apparently kills El-Hajjâj and Raghib, and wounds the Apprentice, before offering the Dervish an ultimatum: merge with the Apprentice and join her, or see the Apprentice killed, damning Taysir to remain incomplete. The Dervish blasts her with a magical strike, mixes his blood with that of the Apprentice, and becomes the complete, unified Taysir.

He rebuffs a final attack from Nailah, and planeswalks away to avoid being bound by her compulsion. However, Nailah enacts a final revenge, barring Taysir from returning to any of the many planes of Rabiah.

Extras[edit | edit source]

In this volume's Shahrazad's Tales, the editor justifies the use of a real-world mythology as the basis for the story. The multiverse is stated to contain many worlds, including Earth. Planeswalkers are stated to share cultures and life forms between those worlds, and entities that are mythological in one may be real in another. Shahrazad's Tales also contains a pronunciation guide and a timeline of Taysir's life.

In Seer Analysis, several cards not mentioned in the previous volume are namechecked. Those cards are Desert, Phantasmal Terrain, Red Elemental Blast, Brass Men, Dancing Scimitar, Shatterstorm, Guardian Beast, City in a Bottle, Disintegrate, Terror, Drain Life, Mind Bomb, and Earthquake.

Covers[edit | edit source]

All cover art was created by Michael Dringenberg.

References[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  1. Karun is the name of a real-world river in Iraq.
  2. Bassorah is an alternative transliteration of the name of Basra, a real-world city in Iraq.
  3. While the comic consistently uses the simplified spelling "El Hajjaj", the corresponding card is named "El-Hajjâj".

External links[edit | edit source]