Story: Kat Howard
Art: Tom Fowler, Brian Churilla
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
Tim’s family reunion is nothing like he imagined, and there has never been more at stake. Still struggling to cope with the tremendous responsibility of wielding magic, he realizes that his choices and his powers may have been to blame for his mother’s disappearance all along. With his trust in Dr. Rose fading and his friendship with Ellie falling apart, Tim is at a daunting crossroads with little hope and no clear path forward.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the slow pacing of this series, Books of Magic hasn’t hit what feels like traditional arcs running in the usual length. Rather, it feels like just an extended ongoing storyline that has hit some big moments but not in a defined arc kind of way. That’s a plus from Kat Howard in storytelling since it keeps me coming back for more to see what’s new and what direction it’s shifting gears toward. Tom Fowler and Brian Churilla continue to put together a great looking book that hits all the marks I wanted from it when it needs to feel grounded in the real world, especially with the color design Jordan Boyd brings to this installment. And I really need a separate shoutout to Kai Carpenter for their cover this month as it’s just incredibly striking an engaging, setting a wonderful mood.
The smaller moments with the school provide for some good material with Ellie coming back but not exactly keen on going in. Tyler’s not exactly a great person but he’s got the right kind of push to get her to just get in there and start dealing with it, all while trying to avoid the problematic teacher. This is also where we learn that the school is instituting a new policy where students can’t be alone while on campus, which isn’t going to go over well when it comes to bathroom breaks or just a moment of quiet that some need. But just seeing how things are changing here is engaging to watch knowing that the players are waiting in the wings for their moment to strike once again.
For Tim, his life has taken an unexpected turn with the return of his mother in the previous issue. Tim’s hoped-for changes in the household haven’t quite come true as his dad is still acting like “It’s fine” with everything, making him wonder if his spell lingers, while his mother doesn’t quite feel all too motherly. She’s making obvious moves toward things such as telling Tim he can’t do magic anymore or the cold flame people will kill her and then later her interest when he pulls out one of the books of magic that he’s found. He’s blinding himself to a lot of this and even throws the book at Rose when he sees her later, telling her that he’s done with magic. Her reaction to his naivety is pretty accurate and could be even more when you get down to it. Tim just hasn’t gotten a handle on the scale of what his reality is like now and the choices he’s making and nobody is really smacking him upside the head to understand it either.
I continue to really enjoy Books of Magic even if doesn’t feel like it’s gotten out of a “B” level grading for its run. It’s building a slow and steady course here in a really good way but it also feels like it really needs to start moving Tim forward soon so that he’s actively doing instead of this passive approach. There’s a lot to like with how this all unfolds here and it’s understandable his reactions toward his mother as even he realizes he’s putting on some blinders with it. Howard does a solid job with the book once again and I really enjoy Fowler’s artwork as it just clicks with this kind of work. But I long for a Books of Magic series that has Tim being a far more involved character since this still feels like the same Tim from the 90’s miniseries.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Vertigo Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: August 28th, 2019