With Magic School's doors no longer open, Knox Academy is one of the few places on Earth that can provide a safe haven for those in need.
Piper, Phoebe, and Paige must team with the staff to protect themselves and their friends from the government's modern day witch hunt that has deemed anyone like them to be the enemy.
Breezing through the issue, so you don't have to
Phoebe and Parker get caught in a magical battlefield. Coop helps them through the chaos to Knox Academy, where the now “non-magical” beings are hiding. While there, a magic doctor attempts to remove Leo’s wings, and Piper and Phoebe talk about everything that’s happened. The world has gone to crap, and Prue is back out of the picture.
The doctor can’t remove the wings, but heals Leo to ease his pain. Another magic gang joins the battle. Meanwhile Rennek is enjoying his paradise. At Knox Academy, the girls and crew head up to the clock tower, to get a look at the chaos. A fireball blows out the room. They move downstairs to evacuate. Paige interrupts and gets Piper and Phoebe back to the clock tower, where they see things on the street are being handled by an ally – Darryl!
Twitter-friendly summary of my thoughts
"Issue struggles to balance exposition and action, but finds a decent footing and moves the overall arc along nicely. Plus, yay Darryl!"
FOUR Good Uses of Supporting Characters
- Coop helping save Phoebe (and Parker) at the beginning of the issue without the use of his powers was a nice way of showing how everyone is adapting.
- Henry has the reverse adaptation to deal with, and they show both how he's using his magic and how he's still struggling with it, and both moments feel very natural.
- Tyler, the firestarter, shows up in the Knox scenes, in a nice callback to previous issues. He also serves to explain why everyone is at Knox and not Magic School, in one of the less clunky exposition moments of the issue.
- And Darryl. SQUEE!
THREE Awkward Uses of Exposition
Because of the six month jump between issues 19 and 20, there's a lot we missed. This issue tries to fill in the gaps, and sometimes it's just, well, awkward.
- Paige's response to Phoebe saying she could bear to part with Parker (the other kids are with Victor) is to provide some random piece of information about Henry Jr. It's necessary, but very unnatural.
- The Rennek scene involves him being told about happenings on Earth that, based on his responses, he clearly already knows about. But we don't. So we have to read about it.
- Referring to the chaos, Piper says "Maybe it would have happened differently if everything changed at once." That's a good line, that gives us backstory without sounding unnatural. The follow-up from Phoebe is "I don't know that waking up without our powers would have been better than helplessly watching them weaken and disappear over months." That definitely spells everything out in a much clearer picture than Piper painted, but imagine it as TV dialogue. Just weird.
TWO Huge Action Spreads
- Dean Kotz's strength has always been these over-sized multi-page battle scenes, and he gets two of them in this issue. The first spans pages 4-5, and features two gangs of normal-looking people trading energy balls, fireballs, and anything else they can throw at each other, with smoke in the distance, overturned cars and holes in the street.
- The second, on pages 16-17, is the battle outside Knox Academy. It's a little more pulled back, so the people aren't as detailed as they are in the battle on 4-5, but it's still really cool, and captures the essence of chaos the world is in.
ONE Big Story
- So far through two issues, this story has moved a bit forward while also revealing a bit of what happened in the preceding gap, but it's still a touch confusing. I'm getting the sense that this, more than any of the previous arcs, is going to be a storyline that reads best when complete. Reviewing the individual issues is like reviewing a single act from a TV episode. You have to include where we've been, and make assumptions about where we're going, to really get the whole picture.
Previous Issue#20, The Old Witcheroo
Reversal of Misfortune
#22, Prue Ya Gonna Call?