BOOKS OF MAGIC #6
As Tim gets to grips with being back in the real world he gets the news that Ellie has been abducted. Later as he discusses with Dr Rose what he has found in the Dreaming he also discovers the whereabouts of Mr Brisby. Confronted about it she reveals Brisby’s involvement with the Cold Flame and possibly Ellie’s disappearance. Given the options of either seeking out his mother or rescuing Ellie he opts to save Ellie, reasoning his mother chose her own path and Ellie didn’t. Before setting off on his next mission however, Tim decides to ease matters at home by ensuring his father won’t miss him
Writing: After the stellar fantasy of last issue I didn’t expect this one to be anything more than a bit of filler, with some minor grounding and catch up. How wrong I was. We could so easily have suffered from an attack of the doldrums and a return to Earth with a bump, but Kat Howard cleverly avoided this. Firstly by adding the conclusion of Rose that Tim didn’t actually meet Dream as he believed. And then by making the mundane world a little more mysterious as Tim has a tête-à- tête with Mr Brisby. Thus also injecting a little more intrigue and doubt about Rose.
Personally I feel she has no need to defend her actions as I know she has always had Tim’s best interests at heart. I guess my judgement comes from previous knowledge of the events in the first Books of Magic miniseries, when she guided him through Faerie. She’s only ever been his staunchest ally and is only considered even slightly suspect when she trades places with Doctor Occult (for more on that see my colleague Amit Malaviya’s reviews for Mystik U) and there’s been no sign of Richard here. Yes she murdered Brisby, but he was clearly in league with the Cold Flame. Although now I worry they will both be blind sided by Mr Davies as they are unaware of his involvement in Ellie’s disappearance.
Art: Kai Carpenter again offers up another visually appealing cover, showing some foreboding with all eyes watching Tim. Who himself shows the grim determination and youthful stubbornness we see in the story. And beautifully rendered support characters, with Ellie looking suitably shut off and trapped and Rose vaguely mysterious. And within the pages Tom Fowler again made the ordinary world seem charming and relatable with all the trappings of normality and the visit to Hettie and her pigeons. Seeing her almost vague and distracted as she makes a cat’s cradle out of Tim’s yo-yo while they catch up was quite disarming, as well as providing suitable visual counter-play to the discussion. Todd Klein’s lettering even added some character to the scene with the coo-ing of the pigeons and almost made me hear them. I also felt a slight foreboding chill as Mad Hettie said farewell to Tim, this echoing Matthew last issue and his own ominous warning. I am beginning to wonder if there is a sign on Tim’s back that everyone but us can see.
There was also more immediate drama with Ellie’s disappearance being made public and the police presence at the school, which moved the urgency up a notch visually speaking. And Jordan Boyd also fed some realism into matters during the scene with Tim and his father. The muted colors of the lounge are suitably washed out by the glare of the TV and Tims father is faded into the background perfectly, which only compounds the disassociation the pair feel toward one another. This is later revisited as Tim comes home to place a spell on him protecting him, which I’m almost sure won’t backfire…ahem.
Characters: Tyler is beginning to become more of a sinister bugbear than previously thought, especially as he now has knowledge of Tim’s abilities. And the plot development of having Brisby mystically trapped, yet able to still stir up trouble is very dynamic. And also makes for some dark and edgy humor, being as Rose has put him in a deservedly unceremonious resting place. I was also quite impressed at the path this issue took, with Rose giving him a choice as to what to do next. She clearly sees he has to make his own way and cannot be pushed or goaded. This way whatever happens it will be on his own merit. Tim has also shown great maturity here in his choosing to go and save Ellie, rather than his more personal need to find his mother. And it makes complete sense.
Hard to come up to the standard of last issue but this did so admirably. And we barely get to catch a breath before we are off again. P.S. Many humble thanks for the shout out to Comicwatch on the cover.
Books of Magic #6 :A Rose by Any Other Name
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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