BOOKS OF MAGIC #13
After the drama of the school battle and the ensuing fallout Tim created trouble is brewing, as Dr Rose has a visit from her superiors with ominous results. It seems his actions have not gone unnoticed. Blissfully unaware of all this Tim tries to fix his past mistakes with magic and fails.
Choosing a more down to earth approach he finally gets through to his father and things begin to look up, with his father slowly coming back to himself. Meanwhile at Ground Zero of the 'event' the shadows come alive with the arrival of a most unexpected, yet familiar looking visitor.
As an epilogue to the last issue, writer Kat Howard has given us a perfectly suitable segue and has smartly wrapped up the previous arc, as well as introduced us to the next. The groundwork for the continuation has been laid out in several interesting ways, in just two or three simple set ups. Firstly we have Tim and his father dealing with the repercussions of his actions, using magic to try to fix his mistake. The way in which he gets through to him using cognitive therapy is not only truly heartwarming but also reflects the obvious benefits in the real world as used in cases of Locked In Syndrome as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s and is a clever way of engaging the reader with his plight. This rather touching and subtle conclusion should teach him a valuable lesson in that not EVERYTHING has to be answered with magic.
Then there is the introduction of Celia Culpepper, who will clearly become a much harsher observer than Rose has been of late. In this one character there results several repercussions for Rose, Tim and Ellie like. As she will either choose to take over Rose’s role in a more authoritarian way, or maybe even judge him more harshly than Rose herself has. A daunting scenario for Tim given how the ‘other’ Tim’s have been dealt with by Rose. Not only this but she has also given Ellie something else to think about, who then goes on to investigate protection spells. And I found it interesting she allowed her to keep her memories and even welcomed it. So she isn’t being introduced as someone who is meant to hide and obfuscate the reality of magic or cover up the things Tim has done either.
And finally the whole incident has brought about the arrival of The Other. This is a name known to readers of Tim’s previous adventures and it looks as if this could be a challenging and interesting one. We already know Kat has steered clear of following any formula or copying anything from the original story. Choosing instead to go her own way and engineer a tale that is her own creation and giving the narrative a fresh new voice. And with Titania, The Cold Flame and other trappings of the previous version in mind, as well as the recent news Tim will also come up against one of the Trenchcoat Brigade, we now see she has taken on another familiar foe. I can’t wait to see what she does with this one. Having enjoyed what she has made of the other staples of the world of Books of Magic I have complete faith in this latest twist and introduction of the next threat.
And the art does a great job of mirroring the breadcrumbs laid out in the writing. Here Tom Fowler and Craig Taillefer offer several key moments that ensure the dread is kept to a low undertone, while dealing with the family drama in a compelling way. Even with the perfectly innocent scene of Tim and his father reconnecting, there is a guiding hand pointing out the clues for us to see. Perfectly assisted by the colours of Jordan Boyd, who sets the scene well with the background colours and evening sunset, allowing for some semblance of calm before the next instalment. The hint of the darkness attached to Tim by way of what his dad sees in his glasses is also a subtle foreshadowing I missed in the first reading. The implication being Tim has also missed a vital and ominous clue given in the observation.
The glasses themselves are a crucial bit of kit as well, more so than the screwdriver I think. Giving Tim a way of divining the natural flow of magic and allowing him to possibly affect what he sees. And again here the visuals do a wonderful job of describing the forces Tim is fighting against by way of the bands wrapped round his fathers head. And they are shown perfectly as physical manifestations that can be affected but not removed, making them tangible and more ominous than we have been able to realise before, which allows us to physically see what it was Tim was up against all along.
All topped off once again by an evocative and disarming cover image of Tim and Yoyo, in which Kai Carpenter manages to capture the awkward innocence of the would be magician, while also using a little ‘foreshadowing’ of her own to lay the groundwork of what is to come. Overall this issue is another example of how Kat and her artistic team have woven a magical spell of their own and have chosen to avoid using a ploy normally adopted in the genre. Without constantly resorting to fantastical realms and beings normally adopted to the format purely to give it a believable premise and make for an easier task for themselves. And centring so much lately in the earthbound they have succeeded in enabling us to believe in the presence of magic in our own world.
Once again this book continues to enthral without throwing the familiar trappings or tropes at us. As such it deserves my respect and admiration.
Books of Magic #13 Fix Me Now
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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