Hexley is stuck at Wizard Beach and he’s not ihappy about it. And, rather than kicking back and enjoying the experience, he’s doing everything he can to resist the magical world that Uncle Sally is trying to show him. Plus, he’s definitely not paying any attention to any of the alluring young witches that might keep bumping into him.
I touched on this in my review of the last issue, but I’ve been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels since I first started reading them in the mid ‘80s, and I think this is one of the main reasons I’m enjoying Wizard Beach so much. It’s so reminiscent of the early days of Pratchett’s stories that it’s like slipping on a comfortable old pair of shoes, delivering a familiar and comforting experience with every turn of the page. The characters and the world they inhabit could, in my opinion, easily be an extension of Pratchett’s own. A little archipelago on the edge of the Circle Sea, perhaps? That isn’t to say that this series doesn’t have its own story to tell and its own style and charm, it does and it has buckets of both.
The characters that Shaun Simon has created are wonderful, interesting, charismatic and a little bit weird, but most of all they’re fun! This series has a great energy about it and the magical, mythical world the characters inhabit is wonderfully realised. Hell, I’d like to spend a summer at Wizard Beach! I particularly like Hexley as a character. Despite his awkwardness and his resistance to his Uncle’s curse (and his generally appalling attitude towards the other residents of the beach), it’s endearing watching him try to adapt, like watching a fish trying to ride a bicycle. Outside of Hexley’s quest to get back to his war, the new characters introduced this month, and the sinister actions of Barry Wonder’s errant wand, are great additions to the story that, for me, serve as the icing on the cake of a great fun adventure.
Conor Nolan’s artwork is just lovely to look at. There ars tons and tons of little details and nods to other genre classics such as Uncle Salazar creating the waves on a white surfboard named Shadowfax, or a version of volleyball with its roots firmly in Quidditch. As I’ve previously commented the almost Franco-Belgian style that Nolan employs really, really sets off this story fantastically and when you combine that with another fantastic effort by Meg Casey it results in a book that is just beautifully laid out.
Another fun-filled, magical episode in the adventures of Hexley and the denizens of Wizard Beach that I would easily recommend to any fan of the fantasy genre.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek