|This article or section discusses story elements that are no longer canonical.|
|Publication period||November, 1995 - February, 1996|
|Number of issues||4|
|Character(s)||Urza and Mishra|
The Antiquities War comic was released in four volumes from November, 1995 till February, 1996 by ARMADA, a division of Acclaim Comics. Written by Jerry Prosser, this comic tells the story of the Brothers' War. It is presented as a modern retelling of The Antiquities War, originally written by Kayla bin-Kroog in the High Argivian pictoglyph language, as composed by the planeswalker Taysir of Rabiah. The Antiquities War comic is no longer canon. The later novel The Brothers' War provides a contradictory account of the same story.
It is thousands of years after the fall of the mysterious Thran Empire. Some say that the Thran had discovered a source of great power, but were unable to control it. The landscape is covered by their relics. Fallaji nomads routinely search the Western Desert for treasures. Afterward, they travel east to trade with various city-states and schools.
One caravan also brings new students to the school of Mistress Tocasia, two orphans from Argive. Blonde Urza is the older brother, quiet and clever, while dark-haired Mishra is rash and hot-headed. They live for many years at the school, learning the secrets of the Thran. Mishra notices that the Ornithopter they are reconstructing, is missing a necessary component. The brothers discover that it must be charged by a powerstone.
After researching and studying for many years, the brothers power up the Onnithopter and take Tocasia on a flight deep into the Western Desert. After being attacked by a giant Roc, they crash near a rocky formation. Here they discover the Caves of Koilos ("Koilos" being the High Argivian word for "Secret"), which are stacked with Thran relics. They experience visions of the past and find two powerstones with incredible powers, two halves of a perfect whole. Urza takes the Mightstone, and Mishra the Weakstone. Exiting the caves, they power up a Thran War Machine to defeat the Roc. Realizing that the combined stones would give them the ultimate power, each brother craves to own them both and they begin to mistrust each other.
Following the comic are two additional features. Hurkyl's Recollection is introduced as a letters page for the miniseries, and in this first issue also describes the colors of the color wheel and the role of artifact. Seer Analysis by Scott Hungerford from the Wizards' Continuity department, positions the comic within the greater tale of Magic.
Having become estranged, the brothers separately discover that the stones they have found are not ordinary powerstones. Mishra is the first to find out that he can direct the energies from his stone with his thoughts, and that it draws its power from other objects. Each determined to possess both stones, the brothers decide on a contest. Their confrontation ends in an explosion, that kills Tocasia and many others. After this, the brothers split ways. Urza visits the city of Kroog, where the king holds a contest of strength to find a husband for his daughter Kayla. While hired by a clockmaker, Urza's constructs an artificial warrior that he uses to win the contest
Mishra has traveled to the Western Desert to search for further Thran secrets but is taken prisoner and enslaved by the Suwwardi tribe of the Fallaji. The Weakstone fails to save him. At night, Mishra has a vision of a realm of Phyrexian artifact creatures, controlled by a Yawgmoth Demon. One of the Dragon Engines follows him into the real world. With the help of the Weakstone, Mishra is able to control the beast. For this show of strength, he is accepted into the Suwwardi tribe. Later he is able to confederate the several Fallaji tribes under his central control.
Following the comic is an interview with Skaff Elias, Acting Brand Manager for Wizards of the Coast. This details how he created the storyline of the Antiquities War, together with Dave Pettey, Jim Lin, Joel Mick, and Chris Page. Seer Analysis by Shawn Carnes, identifies the several cards of the Antiquities set that is featured in the story.
Raiders from Kroog enter the Caves of Koilos to salvage powerstones, but they are caught by Mishra's Fallaji. Mishra cuts of their hands.
Urza has developed an artificer guild structure in Kroog, wherein apprentices labor in exchange for an education. He has become absorbed by his work and estranged from his wife. The young Tawnos applies for an apprenticeship, showing off his ability to create artifact creatures.
Mishra uses slaves to search for the artifact. Ashnod, a woman with eyes like ice in the desert sun enters his camp. No man can find her heart, but Mishra is determined to possess her. Ashnod gives him a powerful artifact she has created herself and admits to being attracted to power. They kiss.
The king of Kroog Urza with Kayla's pregnancy and presents him with the Jalum Tome, found by a monk in the priory library. The book is said to be copied from ancient Thran documents, but no one can understand it. The king also announces that the lord of Korlis (a neutral territory ) has called a conference to discuss the Fallaji Confederation's stranglehold over the Western Desert and the powerstone supply. Nobles of Argivian city-states are also attending, as representatives of the merchant families and the trade guilds. The Fallaji also send Mishra.
Mishra arrives at the conference on a dragon engine. He introduces Ashnod and is enchanted by Kayla. When the talks begin, they quickly turn into bickering, and no agreement is reached. The King of Kroog declares he will take the powerstones by force, but Mishra shows the bleeding hands of the Kroog raiders as an answer. The king then summons his ornithopters he brought without Urza's knowledge and attacks Mishra's forces. Mishra feels betrayed by his brother. The "Attack at Korlis" provokes open conflict, forcing all the parties to choose sides. Urza's patron is killed by Ashnod, and Urza's Avenger is destroyed by the Weakstone wielded by his brother. In a direct confrontation, Mishra is bested by Urza's Mightstone. The Weakstone seems to deny Mishra his power as if it has a mind of its own. Fleeing, Mishra curses Urza and his house.
Following the comic is Hurkyl's Recollection, a short report about some Franch fans visiting the Armada offices, an introduction to the Homelands comic series and Seer Analysis by Shawn Carnes.
Urza and Mishra have established themselves as leaders and their conflict involves whole nations. But in his commentary, Taysir remarks that it is safe to say that the king and the merchants of Kroog wouldn't have thrown their support behind Urza if the conflict didn't promise great wealth and the opportunity to expand the domain of Kroog trade. Urza pursues the Fallaji with his ornithopters into the Western Desert. After bombing a nomad camp that turns out to be deserted, Urza's troops are lured even further into the unforgiving sandy landscape.
Hidden in their camp, the Fallaji Qadir questions Mishra's leadership skills and asks him to build more Mak-Fawas, dragon engines. Mishra confesses to Ashnod that he can't because the one he had earlier summoned came from another world. They decide to travel to the Caves of Koilos to unravel its secrets. Here, they locate the giant Thran Crystal that had created the Mightstone and the Weakstone. When he uses the Weakstone on the Crystal, a gateway to the other world is opened. They enter a hideous hell full of mechanical beats and demons. Mishra discovers he can control the dragon engines, even without the use of the Weakstone. Ashnod speculates he and Urza have been changed by the power of the Thran Crystal. The Yawgmoth Demon shows up again and attacks, wanting Mishra's power for himself. Mishra and Ashnod go through the portal back to Argive, but are followed by some of the dragon engines. Unbeknownst to them, the demon also has made the transfer.
The Brothers' War spreads across Yotia and the Great Desert. Mishra's experience in Phyrexia seems to have changed him. The "Black Heart" referred to in the last stanza of The Story of Urza and Mishra spreads over him "like a shadow of doom".
Following the comic is Hurkyl's Recollection, detailing all contributors to the comic, an introduction to the Shandalar comic series and Seer Analysis by Shawn Carnes.
All cover art was created by George Pratt.
Notes and references
- Squirle (May 9, 2015). "Antiquities War #1-4, Urza-Mishra War #1-2". Multiverse in Review. Tumblr.
- Patric Scalisi. (July 30, 2017.) "MTG Comics Reread: Antiquities War", GoodReads.com
- Squirle (January 28, 2015). "Timeline". Multiverse in Review. Tumblr.
- Taysir notes that this possibly signifies the ignition of Mishra's Planeswalker's spark, but it is later revealed to be made possible by a planar portal. Note that Mishra is not a planeswalker in revisionist continuity.
- Spelled as Korliss
- Taysir remarks that other ancient narratives like The Journey of Morath or Jarsyl's Journals could be interpreted as travel between the planes, but that none are as clear and direct as this stanza in The Story of Urza and Mishra
- Taysir notes that some scholars believe that the "Black Heart" is a symbol of the dark fate that Mishra brought onto himself by his greed and lust powers. Taysir speculates on the other hand that the "Black Heart" might actually refer to the demon that followed him through the portal.