Friday, October 26, 2018

Books of Magic #1

   On Aug. 31, 2011, I wrote this "Classic" review of the original Books of Magic mini-series (most of it applies to the new version of the series) - here it is, with some minor tweaks:


   So here's a great idea for a story. 

   Start with a young boy who looks like any typical nerd - skinny, glasses, tangled mass of hair. He thinks he's just another kid, but then four mysterious people show up and reveal to him that magic is real and that he's actually a wizard - possibly the most powerful one ever. 

   That begins his education in the world of magic, lessons fraught with danger and excitement. 

   Of course, everyone knows the name of the young magician: Tim Hunter

   For those who guessed Harry Potter, don't feel bad - though the mini-series and continuing series called The Books of Magic was popular when it was first published in 1990, it was eclipsed by the hero of J.K. Rowling's books - even though the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, wasn't released until June 1997. 

   Thankfully, there were never any lawsuits (both Harry and Tim benefit from being under the wings of Warner Brothers, of course) - in fact, now that the Potter books and movies are finished (or are they?), perhaps the filmmakers should look into the somewhat darker story that begins in this issue. 

   The four-part Prestige mini-series that kicks off the series was written by Neil Gaiman - who needs no introduction - and the first issue was drawn by the incredibly talented John Bolton - and an amazing bit of work it is, depicting everything from the origin of the Universe (and of magic) to the gruesome history of the practice of magic on Earth. 

   Each chapter features Tim being guided by a different figure from DC's magical universe - the Phantom Stranger, John Constantine, Mr. E and Dr. Occult

   The series provided a great primer for the world of magic in the DC Universe - and created a terrific new character at the same time. 

   It's a dark but extremely well-done series and well worth tracking down. 

   Those Harry Potter books are good, too. 


   Which brings us to the 2018 version of Books of Magic, an apparent reboot of the concept.

   It wisely doesn't mess with the concept, and takes us back to the end of the original mini-series, with Tim trying to decide whether to be a force for good or evil.

   The new version is - so far - a decent companion to the original concept, with lots of menace in the offing (both real world and mystical in nature). 

   It's a great character and a great concept - here's hoping this series proves to be a worthy successor!

Grade: B+


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