The Books of Magic #16 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Layouts; Craig Taillefer, Finishes; Jordan Boyd, Marissa Louise, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: After the first year of stories, it seemed like Tim Hunter’s biggest threats were coming from the world of magic. That turned out to be true – but the biggest threat isn’t from outside, but from within.
An alternate, older version of Tim Hunter, the one who ruined John Constantine’s world, has found its way to this world and is grooming Tim to evolve into the same kind of predator he did. That Tim has deals with dark supernatural forces who he’s trying to keep at bay, making his attempts to corrupt Tim all the more urgent. Rose, Tim’s mentor since the beginning, is trying to reach her wayward protege while also trying to keep him safe from the prying eyes of Celia, the magical authority who sees him as a growing danger.
The first half of Books of Magic #16 flip-flops a lot between varying perspectives, making it feel a bit scattered at times, but Kat Howard’s tense and compelling script more than makes up for any structural quibbles.
There are a lot of players in this series, like Ellie and Tim’s father, that don’t get much play this issue. The best segments are those where Tim struggles against the temptations of his older self, who is pulling him deeper and deeper towards a world of dark magic. Even though they’re the same person, this is a dynamic we’ve seen many times before – an older, manipulative bully preying on a younger target’s weakness as they pull them towards self-destructive ends.
The last segment of Books of Magic #16, as Tim and Tim search for a book and the younger Tim starts to realize he’s being manipulated, has more tension than any scene in any of the darker books in this line. This title works so well because it’s the only one in the line that lets us see a terrifying world from the perspective of someone who’s still innocent. Tim’s indoctrination into the world of magic has been shown before, but I don’t know if it’s ever been this disturbing.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.