BOOKS OF MAGIC #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Books Of Magic #1 CoverBOOKS OF MAGIC #1/ Written by KAT HOWARD/ Art by TOM FOWLER/ Colors by JORDAN BOYD/ Letters by TODD KLEIN/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Tim Hunter is a child of destiny. What that destiny is, no one is sure beyond the fact that Tim will be a power in the world of magic, for good or ill. Unfortunately, Tim can’t get even a simple spell to work and is hardly the master of his destiny at the moment as a bullied middle-schooler who misses his mother.

A bit of a slow start that gives us the short-short version of Neil Gaiman’s original Books of Magic series before confirming that pretty much nothing done with Tim Hunter after that has happened. It’s a good fresh start for the character that is easily accessible to new readers, but a bit dull for everyone who knows who Tim is already who read the previous series. Still, better to coddle the newcomers than assume everyone knows everything and Kat Howard does a fair job copying Gaiman’s style.

The real selling point here is the artwork, which is phenomenal and on-par with some of the work we saw in the original Sandman series. Tom Fowler’s work reminds me of Michael Zulli, which is high praise given how much I like Zulli’s work. Jordan Boyd’s colors prove a perfect complement and it’s likely Todd Klein will win another Eisner for his work on the lettering here.

Bottom Line: It’s a bit slow for those who already know Tim Hunter’s story but it’s a solid introduction for newcomers and the artwork is amazing. Definitely worth picking up.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 #2MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 #2/ Written by HAROLD BUCHHOLZ, JOEL HODGSON, MATT MCGINNIS, SETH ROBINSON, SHARYL VOLPE & MARY ROBINSON/ Art by TODD NAUCK & JACK POLLOCK/ Colors by WES DZIOBA & JACK POLLOCK/ Letters by MICHAEL HEISLER/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The madness of Kinga Forrester’s latest invention continues, as Jonah finds himself trapped in the world of Black Cat (the public domain redhead one, not Felicia Hardy) and Crow is thrown into an old EC horror comic full of ironic consequences.

If you liked the first issue, you’ll love the second issue. Though the humor will be lost on those who don’t get this sort of thing, Joel Hodgson and his writers perfectly translate the humor of the show into a comic book format. Todd Nauck’s animated style is perfect for portraying the “real world” while Jack Pollock does a masterful job of working the MST3K cast into the original public domain comics and making them look like a natural part of those books. Bonus points for having Crow become The Crypt Keeper on the final page to deliver a monologue that is sure to have Trace Beaulieu’s impression of the Tales From The Crypt host fill your head.

5-5

 

Spider-Gwen Ghost-Spider #1 CoverSPIDER-GWEN: GHOST-SPIDER #1/ Written by SEANAN MCGUIRE/ Art by ROSI KAMPE/ Colors by IAN HERRING/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Fresh out of prison, Gwen Stacy is trying to figure out what to do with her life. Her secret identity as Spider-Woman has been revealed to the world and everyone, annoyingly, is now calling her Spider-Gwen. But the quest for a new codename must be put on hold when she learns of a crisis that requires her traveling to another universe.

The amazing thing about Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider is how easily accessible it is to new readers despite being a continuation of the previous Spider-Gwen series and a tie-in to Spider-Geddon. Seanan McGuire’s script gives us all the details we need to know about what happened before, but largely focuses on revealing Gwen as a smart, funny and capable person just trying to do the right thing in spite of herself and a largely hostile world. Throw in the amazing art by Rosi Kampe and Ian Herrring and you have one fast, fluid read that grabs the eye and doesn’t let go. Though aimed at younger readers, this is one fun book that most superhero fans will enjoy.

 

X-Men Red #9 CoverX-MEN: RED #9/ Written by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by ROGE ANTONIO/ Colors by RAIN BEREDO/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Cassandra Nova has taken control of Rachel Grey. Now, to save her daughter from a possible future, Jean Grey must make the ultimate sacrifice and face her new arch-enemy alone. Problem is, her friends aren’t about to let that happen and Jean can’t protect herself and them.

As usual, Tom Taylor’s writing and his command of these characters is the draw to this issue. The interactions as Nightcrawler, Honey Badger and Storm tell Jean in no uncertain terms that she is not fighting alone are both heartfelt and hilarious. I particularly like how effortlessly Taylor includes exposition (such as the fact that Nightcrawler dated Rachel Grey for a while) into the narrative and explores how very weird it is that you can date your friend’s adult daughter from an alternate timeline and it isn’t a big deal. Ah, life in the Marvel Universe!

Roge Antonio’s artwork has been hit and miss with me over the years but here it’s a definite hit. The rushed quality I saw in so much of Antonio’s Birds of Prey work isn’t here. Rain Beredo continues to impress with the colors, making this one gorgeous book. This is the only X-Men book I read and one of the few I’d argue everyone should read.

5-5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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