BOOKS OF MAGIC #12
As Tim confronts his mother he finally discovers what we suspected all along and Rose warned him of. This was not his mother, and the Cold flame have been playing him. After a tense argument he banishes the pretender from his home, only to be given a dire warning.
Then lured by Tyler to an apparent magical battle Tim surprises everyone by taking decisive action, despite the misgivings of Dr Rose, who is immediately accused of hypocrisy. But as Tim walks away safe in the knowledge that he has done a good thing, he fails to see the results of his magic behind him.
WRITING: The many worlds and characters created by Neil Gaiman are precious things that are jealously guarded by many fans. And yet in the short space of a year, Kat Howard has achieved the almost impossible task and made this title her own. Not only has she taken Tim in a vastly different direction from his origins, something rare and wonderful when it’s done well, but she has also given an intriguing new depth to his mundane world. In the past he has been defined by an other-wordly company of angels, succubi and demons of various worlds. And rarely has that supporting cast consisted of such ordinary yet compelling individuals as he is surrounded by now.
And I think this is deliberate and also the key to her successful iteration of the ongoing story. His father has finally been introduced as more than a slovenly recluse hiding in the shadowy lounge, lit only by the background glare of the TV, and his school friends have also become a linchpin to the ongoing plot. As such his home and school life have finally become an intrinsic part of his story. These background characters are what inform his reasoning and motivation and so have to play an important part in his choices.
But overall the impetus is Tim himself and the decisions he makes. Necessity is truly the mother of invention…no pun intended. With Tim taking this drastic course of action there are clearly going to be some repercussions for him in the coming months from several different directions. Not only will the Cold Flame assuredly retaliate, but this may cause Rose to question her own judgement in not taking him out, as she clearly has done other versions of him. And this latest turn of events will surely set the way forward for the revelation of some more underlying problems, as his lapse in conscience may well leave an indelible mark on his soul, though he may not yet realize it.
One small detail I nearly missed was that Yoyo doesn’t immediately follow when Tim calls, but looks to Rose for confirmation. This could mean several things, such as he is really sent by Rose as a means of keeping an eye on Tim in case he goes too far, as an early warning system so Rose can dispatch him. Or he is simply there to guide him on the right path. But what I take from this is that he won’t blindly follow and is there in Tim’s best interests, whether Tim realizes it or not, which is making me like him all the more.
The way in which Tyler reveals his true colors is also a satisfying one and his expression when he sees what comes of those who mess with Tim is a revelation in itself. And it feels like I’ve been waiting for this payoff forever. I am also loving the new twist of the police being in league with some other shadowy authority. I have no clue yet as to what they are talking about but I doubt it bodes well for Tim. On top of the ensuing repercussions of what he has done I believe they will play a part in what is to come in a big way.
ART: This is as strong and consistent as it has been throughout. And Tom Fowler’s pencils are as always perfectly enhanced by Brian Churilla and now Craig Taillefer, with particular emphasis on the facial expressions, which reflect the characters intentions and emotions perfectly. And Marissa Louise’s colors suit the mood of each scene, making her a welcome addition to the artistic team. She does a wonderful job of lending the confrontation with the ‘mother’ a sense of ominous impending doom, while ensuring the brief yet decisive school battle is memorably bold and resplendent in bright shows of power.
Todd Klein’s letters also add to the mood with interspersed use of bold text at key moments, which serves to underline the various important scenes. He not only gives a sense of drama to the action by using more dynamic, large fonts in the more active scenes, but also adds to the confrontation scenes with perfectly balanced sound effects. As well as using them in a subdued way to lend a touch of banality as Hettie opens her umbrella, as counterpoint to her ominous prediction of the oncoming drama.
And of course as always Kai Carpenter gives her all in the depiction of that moment that is sure to be a huge turning point in the adventures of Tim Hunter. His rage and frustration is clearly depicted and ensures there is no mistaking that he has finally had enough and pushes back against those who have been conspiring against him. All in all a standout issue that paves the way forward to an open road, full of potential dangers from all sides.
Perfect finish and opener to the next chapter. The way forward has been cleared as things begin to take on a definite momentum.
Books of Magic #12: The Rise of Tim Hunter
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10