BOOKS OF MAGIC #14
After making a return to London John Constantine looks in on his old friend Tim Hunter. But all is not as it seems as John has deemed Tim is too much of a magical loose end and decides to cut him short. But in passing a ‘test’ John has set up as a distraction Tim manages to make John see things in a new light.
Art: another perfect cover from Kai Carpenter, which shows the full drama of the story in a dark and gothic image which suits the story to perfection. Given the fact that Constantine is involved the visuals of the story also do a great job of lending that dark and gritty edge that comes from a Hellblazer book. And it is testament to the art team of Tom Fowler, Craig Taillefer and Jordan Boyd that they switch things up and ingrain that moodiness into what has so far been giving voice to Tim’s brighter viewpoint and a more positive and wondrous mood and instead pull this book together to reflect a more cynical and threatening undertone, taking us down a much darker path. You almost have to blink and shake your head to keep in mind this is the same crew of people we have been witnessing since the beginning, as they change the outlook completely and invite us to see things from this darker perspective. It’s more than making it dark and gloomy with a little London rain, it’s in every little detail. Most telling is the one image of Johns bloody hands on top of Tim’s pale and unsullied hands. This image alone showcases the difference between the two and even identifies the slight hypocrisy of Constantine’s actions.
Characters: John has so much darkness in his past and for him to be the judge, jury and executioner of a boy who has barely taken a step down the same path smacks of pot calling the kettle black. But that’s the beauty of the tale. Whether you’re team Hellblazer or a Hunter fan you are actually rooting for both of them and hoping against hope that the outcome will be a positive one for both sides. But given the situation it is touch and go. Tim enters into things as trustful as he always is of the one man among the Trenchcoat Brigade who he knew had his back way back when. And conversely John is wrestling with his conscience and better judgement, while playing referee to a couple of decidedly gruesome and dangerous demons, adding a little black humour to proceedings as well as some truly gruesome demonic history of not only Bita and Maz Gh?l, but also the Vestibulan and Shahmaran.
Writing: I have of course one minor grammatical gripe in the writing…it’s fella not feller. That’s a tree surgeon that is. Other than that the writing is hitting all the right notes as always. As usual Tim manages to win through using a mix of innocence and guile, passing Constantine’s test without even knowing what the stakes were. And as usual Kat Howard makes easy work of getting to the core of what Tim is all about. The story is also given a decidedly demonic spin as Si Spurrier lends his view to the proceedings, thus giving an individual voice to the two very different perspectives of each protagonist. Seeing the same events played out from two different angles is always intriguing and both writers ensure a balanced portrayal, never showing favour one way or the other. Both have their thoughts and feelings on unfolding events and neither is in the wrong really, which keeps the drama of things going and allows us to choose, much as Tim does, which one is the wiser course of action.
As the story progresses it becomes difficult to discern just which of the two is the bigger threat to the other. And it’s only in conclusion we realise it is neither. Because John has an epiphany about choice he decides to take a different path, but this only comes courtesy of the decision made by Tim himself and so he follows his example. Much as the unfolding drama blurs the line as to which is the more honourable protagonist it also makes it difficult to decide which has made the right choice, if it could even be said that either of them has managed to do so. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, if it comes to the crunch it is still up in the air as to who will be the victor in a clash between the two. And I may be mistaken but in saving Tim’s life using the flesh of the Shahmaran…didn’t he also just imbue him with mystical wisdom..? Food for thought.
An insightful look at two complicated and essentially flawed characters, which offers a glimmer of hope that both have the chance of redemption, while also remembering that both have the potential for great heights of betterment as much as horrific tragedy and doom.
Books of Magic #14 How Do You Solve a Problem Like 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
User Review( votes)