Books of Magic #3: On A Wing And A Prayer

Author(s): Kat Howard

Artist(s): Tom Fowler (I) Kai Carpenter (C)

Colorist(s): Jordan Boyd

Letterer: Todd Klein

Publisher: DC Vertigo

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Supernatural, Thriller Recap

Tim is haunted by his own actions as Rose herself takes drastic steps to protect him. And as Tim attends a memorial for a teacher found dead, others are watching and waiting to put a stop to his forays into the world of magic once and for all. Review

Opening with the perfect rendition of a boy and his pet owl I was overjoyed that this gave us the introduction of Tim’s friend and guardian Yo-Yo, thank you Kai Carpenter, this is all I’ve waited for and been missing from the start, stunning cover with an iconic and well loved image. Now I can rest assured we are in the world of the Opener. There is something quite reassuring about the art of Tom Fowler and Jordan Boyd this series. It grounds Tim in the mundane reality of school and doorstep chats with Ellie with some neutral colors, as well as warm sunshine in the park with a little magic for Hettie, while at the edges there are people watching his every move from the shadows and waiting for their chance to put a stop to his potential fall to the darkness within. The sight of Tim counting literal sheep to avoid dreaming is also a rewarding one, if slightly bizarre. And the offhand way he conjures them away is a little perturbing and puts me on edge. This is an inkling of the boy who created the likes of Awn The Blink and his other, more esoteric creations. And I for one can’t wait to see that spark ignite. Similarly the arrival (at last) of YoYo will make matters more interesting, though of course draws more comparison to He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. This is a necessary evil though as Yo-Yo is as integral to Tim Hunter as To-to is to Dorothy and to omit the poor bird would be a crime and I loved the open innocence on Tim’s face when he sees the transformation. A hard task given the memorable image the first time round. No more Illuminated Manuscript weaving it’s magic? The background narration tool has gone and I can’t help feel a little loss at it’s absence. While the Cold Flame open the proceedings with their scrying of Tim there is an undercurrent of dread, but no real insight into what is potentially happening and we only see the drama in its immediacy. This makes me feel somewhat cut off from Tim and his dilemma as there is no information as to the perils he is flying headlong into. Which brings us to a more obvious and worrying development. In his own forays into magic Tim is rushing headlong into the darkness and doesn’t seem to care about the repercussions, blinded by the promise of finding his mother. As this is a scenario not dealt with before in previous outings with Tim in the past this has become quite an interesting angle from Kat Howard and I can see the road ahead is going to be a dangerous one even if he can’t. And as for Rose herself, she is beginning to appear as overseer of Tim with some more Extispicy and clearly is on his side as well as clearly being the one who killed his literature teacher Mr Brisby, hinting that he was part of the Cold Flame then? But I also wonder if she was also put in place as a final safeguard, should he take the less favourable path of becoming evil? Those reading Mystik U will know there is potential for her ‘other’ side to take over and he doesn’t have as charitable a nature when it comes to that sort of potential danger. And finally Mad Hettie, the other supporting character from his past that has potential to make things very interesting for him. What ‘nasty thing’ is she hiding? Remembering Death’s own dealings with her in the past in Death: The High Cost of Living , this could be intriguing and I can only hope it will be for the better. Hettie has some magical abilities herself and although she has never really been a malign influence in Vertigo canon this is a new story for a new era. After all as Hettie herself is known for saying “you don’t get to your two hundred and fiftieth without learning a few tricks”. Tim’s quest for his mother shows this already, so all bets are off.

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