The Books of Magic #19 – David Barnett, Writer; Tom Fowler, Layouts; Craig Taillefer, Finishes; Marissa Louise, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: After a dense eighteen-issue arc by Kat Howard, the main plot of this title takes a break for a two-part story by guest writer David Barnett – and it’s exactly the breath of fresh air this title needs to keep its momentum going. It’s almost meta in its setup – it’s a break for Tim as well, as his teacher Rose is going on a mysterious vacation and Tim is left to his own devices for a few days. Bored out of his mind, he meets a reckless teenage self-taught mage named Izzy and she quickly pulls Tim into more reckless behavior. It’s clear Tim has a crush on her, but her twisted sense of humor and her encouragement of his unpredictable magic use makes me think she may not have his best intentions at heart. She convinces him to teleport them to Glastonbury – magic has a lot to do with the themes this issue – but they don’t wind up in that festival, but in a mysterious magical place named Festival that seems to exist out of time and space.
This dovetails with the secondary plot this issue, that involves an aging wheelchair-using rock musician obsessed with getting back to Festival after decades. He even goes so far as to kidnap a muse with the help of a shady fence of his. It turns out that he has a friend who was left behind there – who hasn’t aged a day. This guy makes a compelling villain, because he’s genuinely sympathetic and yet also completely insane. The strange, dreamlike setting of Festival is a perfect location for this issue, as Barnett manages to make it feel not too different from your average music festival – except for the ogres there on a bachelor party, the tornadoes full of people, and the long-dead musical acts performing. This issue has a lighter tone than the last few arcs, but there’s still a sense of genuine danger to it, and it’s great to see Tim out of his element and acting more like a normal kid. More DC work for Barnett, please.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.