cover image Books of Magick: Life During Wartime

Books of Magick: Life During Wartime

Si Spencer, . . Vertigo/ DC Comics, $9.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-0488-4

This work's psychedelic cover by Frank Quitely promises weirdness within, and Spencer and Ormston don't disappoint, aided by a plot assist from series creator Neil Gaiman. A continuation of the adventures of Tim Hunter from the previous Books of Magick series, this volume doesn't require a grounding in the backstory. Yet it isn't too straightforward. There are two very distinct worlds here. The first is suffused with magic, where humanity (also known as the "Bred" and led by magician John Constantine) is fighting a losing war against the "Born," magic beings led by the Faerie Queen. The "Coalition," an alliance of humans and magic creatures, has joined the Bred in placing their hopes in the "Hunter," a missing messiah for mankind. That savior is Tim Hunter, the man fated to be the world's greatest magician. He's hiding out in the second world, a universe he has created where there is no magic, no war, no dreams and where he has no knowledge of his past or his destiny. Ormston's expressionistic art and Fiona Stephenson's acidic colors set an appropriate visual tone. This book's situations are left unresolved at the end, and readers who manage to find a way through the story's convolutions will likely want more. (Mar.)