A queen and a winged wonder: books read

THE TRUE QUEEN: A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel by Zen Cho is an excellent follow-up to Sorcerer to the Crown, surprisingly going in different directions. Amnesiac twins in Malaysia, one magical and one not, discover one of them is being eaten away by a curse; they flee through the spirit world to England to hunt the cause, only for the magical sister to disappear in transit. Her sister Muna arrives at Prunella Wythe’s academy for female wizards (a new and still controversial development) where she has to find a way to bring her sister back while getting caught up in the “magiciennes” conflicts both small (arranged marriage!) and large (war with the queen of Faerie). Everything worked and it had none of the problems that bothered me about the first novel.

THE HAWKMAN COMPANION by Doug Zawisza is one of the worst-edited TwoMorrows books I’ve read (“inspired by the tenants on which America was built,” for instance ) and occasional streaks of pretension, but it’s still an excellent guide to Hawkman’s history and how badly mangled it’s become over the past three decades (repeated reboots and twists warping the Silver Age Earth-One Winged Wonder’s backstory beyond belief). It’s also a good look at the problems of editorial mismanagement: Tony Isabella’s successful Hawkman reboot in the early 1980s tanked after his new editor told him to wrap up the planned multi-year arc in a couple of issues while William Messner-Loebs’ run suffered from editorial trying to rip off Image’s style (by which logic nineteen pages of action and one page of thought was too slow-paced). It’s also curious that while most of the interviewees are fond of the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl (married cops from the planet Thanagar) and the fact they were such a great couple, the Golden Age reincarnated Egyptian prince has been the only Hawkman since the 1990s, and the Hawks haven’t been married since the mid-1980s. I doubt things have improved with whatever version of Hawkman is operating in the New 52. Despite the editing flaws, a thorough job, as I expect from TwoMorrows.

#SFWApro. Cover by Murphy Anderson, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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