In the summer of 1962, young Luke Kirby is sent to stay with his Uncle Elias in a sleepy village called Lunstead, while his mother recuperates from an illness. Elias reveals himself to be a magician, well versed in the alchemical arts and eager to pass his skills onto his young nephew. But while Luke starts his apprenticeship, a bestial horror stalks those unfortunate enough to wander alone at night in the woods. Will the burgeoning magician be powerful enough to confront the monster? To enter this world of wonder, childhood innocence must be sacrificed…
This much-loved saga from the pages of 2000 AD is collected here in its entirety for the very first time.
The tagline says, “Before there was Harry Potter, there was Luke Kirby.” That’s sort of like saying, “Before there were chickens, there were velociraptors” – two genetically similar yet completely different beasts. Considering all the hubbub Harry Potter caused with his spell-casting, I can’t imagine what would have happened with Luke Kirby.
There are several different artists on this series, all great, ranging in style from pulp-novel watercolors (“The Night Walker”) to French comic-inflected (“Sympathy for the Devil”). The writing is also excellent – brisk, yet rich. This is clearly a work of 2000AD in its heyday. The best part about Luke Kirby is that it takes its magick seriously – you get a sense the creators have some real occult chops. I had to keep checking the credits to make sure Alan Moore hadn’t had a hand in this book. What really pulled me in was that I fully, completely identified with the protagonist – the danger and emotions were always real. Never does the series condescend to its protagonist or its readers.
At the end of it all, Luke Kirby is an eerie, funny bit of power fantasy, clearly aimed at boys around Kirby’s age (be prepared for a bit of mild misogyny). Who wouldn’t love to break a bully’s hand with a thought? Yet at the same time, there’s a constant reminder that power is not to be taken lightly – whether it be actual magical power, or simply the power which comes with growing up. If you’re able to handle a bit of occult spookiness, I highly recommend Luke Kirby.
Final Verdict: 4 out of 5.
Summer Magic can be found at 2000AD
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.