When Girl in the Box opens, Tim is running away from home. Struggling with the tattoo Circe gave him, Tim travels to America. He hopes to find Zatanna, the only sane mage he’s ever met, and convince her to teach him. Meanwhile, Molly finds herself trapped in fairyland in a contest with the vicious Amadan (the fairy court jester). On his arrival in the U.S., Tim runs into the succubus Leah (who’s enjoying a modeling career) and is tempted away from his goal for a bizarre sojourn in the desert. While Molly struggles for survival in the jealous Titania’s realm, Tim and Leah encounter a hip hop Cupid and Psyche and a kitchen-sink collection of magical happenings.
With Girl in the Box, Rieber’s grasp on the story seems to slip. Tim drifts through this installment, paralyzed by uncertainty, while the story’s other characters offer shallow psychological insights into his behavior. The L.A. sequences don’t serve Tim’s story very well–it’s very hard to pull off pop culture riffs like the ones Rieber attempts here. While The Books of Magic have always mixed magical and mythological elements from all over the world, Girl in the Box and the volumes that follow suffer from too many new ideas that never seem to develop.
The Books of Magic, vol. 5: Girl in the Box
Written by John Ney Rieber
Art by Peter Gross and Peter Snejbjerg
DC Comics/Vertigo, 1999