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The Coven of Mystics, Special Edition
Courtney Crumrin Volume 2
Ted Naifeh (Author, Artist)
Warren Wucinich (Colorist)

.Oni Press; Special Edition Graphic Novel
August 29, 2012/ ISBN 978-1934964804
Ages 7+, Gothic Fantasy / Adventure / Special Edition Graphic Novel

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

In this volume Courtney is more advanced. Not more mature or grown-up; she still approaches everything like an impatient teenager with emotions roiling, but she is more clued in to the personal benefits of her special abilities, the impact of the local Coven on the day-to-day happenings in Hillsborough and why her uncle has chosen to shun its company. That doesn’t stop the Council of Elders from asking Uncle Aloysius to help when they are beyond their scope with the Night Things.

The compilation is assembled in 4 chapters which correspond to the four issues released in the Coven of Mystics miniseries. It is interesting to me that they do not have sub-titles; they are just referred to as Issues / Chapters One, Two, Three and Four. The events described in the four chapters tie together to tell a larger story that skims along in the background of each.

Chapter One:
Courtney learns that there are bigger and scarier monsters in the world than in her nightmares. She shivers with fear the night she learns about Tommy Rawhead and Bloody Bones, a monster cursed beyond cursing again, who has been called from the marl-pit. But trembling turns to tremors of rage when she realizes that it was a human-a coven member-who turned this creature loose on the neighborhood and wants her uncle dead! But don’t worry, Uncle Aloysius is smarter than your average Warlock and knows when to fight fire with water.

Chapter Two:
Courtney learns that teachers take many forms. Courtney’s school teacher, Miss Crisp, and Uncle Aloysius have a past; so as a favor Miss Crisp is tutoring Courtney in normal-people classes at her house. Quick, Miss Crisp’s silky white cat, and Boo, a neighborhood black cat, are leaving for a secret cat gathering and ask Courtney to accompany them. The cats need to find a new leader to replace the injured Tobermory. How does a human attend a SECRET cat council? Disguised as a kitten of course! While the cats are hunting the will-o-the-wisp that will secure the leadership, Courtney sees two human hunters sneaking up on a Night Thing and fouls their shot. Uncle Aloysius saves the day as the Coven Marshall, Councilman Hector Hughes, draws down on the fluffy white kitten with a bat-shaped spot on her forehead. The second bowman is not identified. The Night Thing, Skarrow, is at the mansion under Uncle Aloysius’ protection.

Chapter Three:
Courtney learns that cooperation between species is easier than cooperation between neighbors. A field trip to the Hall of Wonders goes into overtime with guest lecturer Tobermory and assistant burglar goblins Butterrum and young Butterbug. Meanwhile the Counsel questions the ensorcelled Madam Harken in a nearby room. The townspeople are frightened and blame Skarrow for Madam Harken’s plight bringing down the ire of Uncle Aloysius.

Chapter Four:
Courtney learns that the weapon of her enemy fits well in her own hand. Uncle A. is brought before the Council to where his speech falls on deaf ears and he is required to turn over Skarrow for execution as a scapegoat to calm the community. Things go poorly from there but Courtney takes another step in her advancing role as a dark protector.

Other reviews in this series

Volume 1: Courtney Crumrin and the Night Thing

Reviewer’s Notes: As stated in the review, this special, full-color, hardcover edition contains previously released material:

Courtney Crumrin, Vol. 2: Courtney Crumrin & The Coven of Mystics (Courtney Crumrin Tales) [Paperback] (October 2003) which is a compilation of Courtney Crumrin & The Coven of Mystics Issue #1 (Dec 2002), Issue #2 (Jan 2003), Issue #3 (Feb 2003) and Issue #4 (Mar 2003)

Reviewed 2013