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‘Books of Magic #2’ (review)

Written by Kat Howard
Illustrated by Tom Fowler
Published by Vertigo Comics

 

In the second issue of Vertigo’s relaunched Books of Magic, young Tim Hunter continues his magical education, and asks for some help along the way.

Reviewing monthly comics is hard, y’all.

There are only so many variations of “this is basically fine, everyone involved is clearly talented, and yet this is just a fraction of the completed story that the creative team is looking to tell and it will clearly read better in the collected edition” in the English language, for one thing.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t some problems with this issue (and, by extension, the series) – chief among them is our protagonist.

I don’t have a great handle on Tim Hunter in this series.

I get that he’s not popular at school, and I get that he’s interested in studying magic, but I don’t have a great sense as to what drives him beyond a mystery involving his mother.

I’m fine with Tim being unlikeable, but I’m not fine with not knowing what Tim wants.

Again, I feel churlish for making that point, because I don’t feel like I have the complete story that the creative team are setting out to tell – this is like reviewing chapter two of a novel.

There’s exposition and some rising action, but it’s hard to tell where any of it is going. Tim’s attacked by…. some group of anti-Tim-Hunter cultists over the course of the issue, and we get that they don’t want Tim to become the Greatest of All Magicians but – again – we don’t know why. Maybe these mysteries will be revealed over subsequent issues, but I do think it’s a failing of the series that I’m not intrigued enough to particularly care why this is yet. If I liked the Tim Hunter character more I might be more concerned that these baddies are out to get him.

Given the talent involved, I have to assume this is all building up to something, but right now Books of Magic isn’t doing it for me.

 

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