I was excited about The Montague Twins V01 The Witch’s Hand when I first learned about it. I thought, MAGIC! MYSTERY! FUN NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL SERIES! Instead, I got magic, mystery, a new graphic novel series.
Nathan Page created a familiar story but with modern twists. Magic, family, history and good vs evil are all there. There are the Twins who are Frank and Joe Hardy ready (except with modern ideals and a story arc). Pete and Al Montague live in the late 1960’s but with a 1950’s feel to their dress (leather jackets and cool Elvis hair). They are aware of the history around them (Stonewall Riots, Man on the Moon). However, they are more interested in solving crime, learning magic (that they think their foster family does not realize they are learning) and hanging out at the local diner with their foster sister than what is happening historically (though one brother has a tie-in with the riots).
The story started before the first page where the Twins have learned that the wealthy patriarch of a local family (who own the town) is looking for his wife’s missing pet. The boys find it, and we officially start the story with the boys reading about their adventure in the local paper and the mail giving them a letter and reward money from the family (that they had said was not needed, yet given. This actually is important as it sets up a few of the characters later in the story). Then we see their foster father giving them “the day off” as he doesn’t want to see “children” in the house. But nothing is simple, and the boys are attacked by what they think is a 17th Century Ghost Witch. Their sister, Chuck, will later have strange visions and magic will explode around them. Not to mention there will be a couple of severed hands that play a role in the history of the town. Dark and good magic intertwine, secrets come to light, danger surrounds everyone. Also, as mentioned, modern ideals are given credit (the foster mother is a truck driver who does long hauls; the assistant to the college professor foster father is a young black man). The ending sees case closed, door shut, but is not locked, allowing for sequels to come.
The backstory and contemporary story blend together. Sometimes it feels choppy and does not always flow logically. It is Drew Shannon’s illustrations that help you organize what is going on. The text is fast pace (almost completely dialogue). I realized at one point that while the story itself was not going anyplace fast, I had been flying along reading. I am not “jumping up and down” over it, but I will probably read any sequels and recommend it for ages 14 and up reader looking for a graphic novel that has mystery, modern sentiment, magic and (though to be honest, I am not sure yet why it is important to the story) a GLBTQ character.