Publisher: DC Vertigo
Writer: Kat Howard
Artwork: Tom Fowler
Colours: Jordan Boyd
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Young Tim reads on through the slowly revealing pages of the Book of Magic this week. Once again it’s a case of short but oh so sweet from this addition to the Vertigo relaunch, which is fast becoming one of my favourite series of the year. And, much like Lucifer, Sandman, and The Dreaming, Books of Magic continually can’t seem to put a foot wrong.
Issue two continues to tease the reader rather than giving them any actual answers. Much like the titular book itself, Kat Howard’s story has a mind and a plan of its own and will only dish out the information it thinks you need to know at this time. Tim is like any teenager with a whiff of purpose, he’s impatient and wants all the knowledge no, along with the great power that comes with it. We see in this story an innocent young lad who, while he may not admit it himself, is just trying to find his place in the world, albeit a world that is infinitely wider than he first thought and full of the same questions he had before he even knew about magic. Namely, where did mum go?
Doctor Rose keeps an ever watchful eye on Tim, attempting to guide him and protect him from the unknown group that his magic has awakened. The group we know next to bugger all about aside from the fact that they know something about just how important Tim is and seemingly want him dead as soon as possible. But while the story unfolds it remains centred on one theme, the fact that magic has consequences. It’s something that any experienced Vertigo fan will quote verbatim but also something that is a common theme throughout magical law, both pagan and fictional. And with every page of the book that’s revealed in one panel we get to see the consequences of that knowledge play out in the next. It’s a great way of depicting this what is a strangely gothic coming of age story. And, much like old Vertigo would always do, Howard has taken a seemingly small character and inserted them into a world of happenstance and consequence.
The art of Tom Fowler and his crew show this little juxtaposition really well too, giving Tim and his dad a heartfelt innocence in one page then splattering gore on the next page with literal intestines used in divination. There’s a nice little trick to Jordan Boyd’s colour scheme too. When the normal world is shown, like Tim in school or watching TV, there’s always a lack of colour to it, with a dull blue or green tinge to everything.
The only time there’s any real brightness to the panels is when Tim is out of his house on one of his adventures, or when a character like Dr Rose walks into the panel. This not only shows how magic is lighting up Tim’s life but also that it still exists in the dull and boring world us readers, and the other normals in the story, live in every day. And Tim is our way in, courtesy of his stumbling journey through the pages of the books of magic. If he doesn’t get gutted like a fish first, that is.
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy