The Books of Magic #12 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Artist; Brian Churilla, Craig Tailefer, Finishes; Marissa Louise, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The Books of Magic #12, the conclusion of the first year of this revival of a less-famous Neil Gaiman property delivers on many of the slow-burning subplots it’s had building for the duration of the run, and things move a lot faster than the previous issues.
The Books of Magic #12 kicks off with a bang as Tim returns home to find his mother tearing through his room, searching for the Books of Magic. But when he fights back, it seems clear that she’s not actually Tim’s mother and she’s something that followed him from the magic realms. This is a highly effective, creepy segment that quickly establishes this mystery changeling as one of the biggest villains of the run so far. After Tim fends her off, she travels to Tim’s school – where she goes after Dr. Rose in a scene that Tim’s estranged friend Ellie and her school friend stumble on, putting them in danger from magic again. The fragile balance between his two lives Tim has maintained is now completely gone.
It looks for a bit like school bully Tyler might be going on a redemption arc, as he seeks out Tim for help driving the magic out of their school, but as we know the truth is more complicated than that. The sinister Mr. Davies has his fingers deep into multiple pawns, and the final battle at the school delivers the end of one major antagonist – and a major turn for the dark side for young Tim Hunter, who crosses a line with his magic he can never take back.
Tim’s always been a lot more morally ambiguous than the character he may have inspired, Harry Potter, but most of his previous runs have always pulled him back from the brink. The end of this issue makes me think that may not be the case here, as Howard is taking on this story as one of a boy broken by tragedy and tempted by power, and that’s a story that can end very badly. The end-of-year cliffhanger promises a hell of a second act.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.