The Books of Magic Vol 1: Bindings – 4 stars
Sometimes we read and gulp down books that we like. But there are few books that swallow us down and make us think, “Did I read the book or did it read me?”
Neil Gaiman had given us The Books of Magic and after a few years Vertigo decided to launch a series about it which gave us this epic and wonderful product of some great minds.
Volume 1: Bindings reintroduces us to the boy called Tim Hunter who is destined to become the greatest sorcerer of all time. But he is torn between the ‘real’ world and the ‘magical’ world where he learns more about his powers (in the hardest way) while trying to save both worlds from colliding with each other. In this first adventure he faces one of the long lost mystical collectors and faces Death (another unbelievable creation of Mr. Gaiman) too.
Reading this book is not just reading. It feels like an experience to be cherished. There are only a very few comics which created this magic e.g. The Sandman, Death, The Invisibles, Swamp Thing. Vertigo’s line up has always been untraditional, unique, mind bending and mature unlike any other. And Books of Magic is one of shiniest jewels in Vertigo’s Crown.
The raged yet classy art and the wonderful colourings just sucked me in and made me forget about where I was. The tensed fight of Tim is spin chilling too. But the best part is when Death shows up. That conversation between Death and Tim is so ironic and symbolic that I had to stop and think about what they were actually meaning. Those are some of the best comics pages I have ever read.
It is a really noticeable conspiracy that how much Timmy looks like Harry Potter. Also, both of them are destiny’s children, lost their real parents and on epic magical quests. But whatever it is, I don’t care because Tim came out in the early 90s.
So I recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or magic. Read it and you’ll live it too.
The Torso – 3 stars
Inspector Irene Huss is good at balancing home and office but some cases cannot be contained in the files at office. When parts of human torso start washing up at beaches, it looks like just another serial killing at first glance but Huss tries to solve the case by pulling some old and new ones, she discovers a puzzle with roots deeper than she could imagine. With one corpse being identified as a girl she knew and another corpse being identified as son of another woman known as Huss, she feels how much personal it is this time for the killer and herself.
Now that is an excellent story premise. But sadly the book delivers less than promised. First of all, the length. The book drags so much (more at the first half) that it could have shed about 30 pages easily. Lets give an example, “Maybe it would have been more elegant if the shoe had had a bit of a heel to go with the nice pants, but if you were one hundred and eighty centimetres tall without shoes, you don’t wear heels. A short pass with lipstick would have to do as a means of freshening up her makeup. On the way down the stairs she twisted her arms into a new trench coat-style jacket. It was blue, the color of her eyes.” Not so frustrating yet? Ok, now imagine paragraphs after paragraphs written about how our heroine had to face the problem of changing clothes quickly because someone was at the door or how she had to face the problem of changing her sweaty bra. There are things like these scattered among a crime thriller about serial killer investigation. It feels so frustrating and boring that even if you just say, “Meh” and skip 2-3 pages you won’t feel that you have missed something important.
But even after all these frustration, the book still manages to keep you interested because the mystery is very good and because Inspector Huss is damn good at what she does. I almost felt like vouching for the book to better when it ended.
To be frank, I want to read more of Inspector Huss mystery series but I am also very much afraid.
The City on the Edge of Forever – 4 stars
First of all lets make one thing clear: this is a complete old school Star Trek story! This is actually an unchanged visual representation of the famous script “The City on the Edge of Forever!”
Following the trace of a runaway, the crew of USS Enterprise come across the City on the Edge of Forever which is mostly taken as a myth. They chase the convict through the time line of Earth’s history and lands at the of 1930s. With emotional dilemma, suspense and action it is an awesome ride towards the last page.
The story uses some really common and familiar elements of Sci-Fi but still it is thoroughly enjoyable and the emotional jabs are really heart warming. Although there are some pages where it feels that the story cold have taken a little pace, once the mind is properly set for the era of William Shatner – its bliss!
Artwork of the book is sadly a bit discontinuous. There are pages where it is so great that it resembles photographs. But then again there are drawings which pop the thought- Am I reading the same book?
One more problem is the facial expressions. Actually almost all the faces of Kirk and Spock are drawn from snapshots of the TV series and Movies. Don’t get me wrong, the drawing is incredible! But when the faces constantly look like great detailed drawings of snapshots while the figures and surroundings are drawn as basic: the faces stands out like flags over the pages. Apart from that the artwork is mind-blowing and the noir style works great with the story!
But did these all really matter when I got it as a free advance copy of a graphic collection of classic Star Trek??? NO!! I just went gaga over it!
P.S. Thanks to IDW publishers for providing an advance copy at Netgalley.