Review by Woodrow Phoenix
Hex Vet: The Flying Surgery is the second graphic novel for young readers by Sam Davies, following book one, Hex Vet: Witches in Training. The ‘Hex’ part refers to magic and the ‘vet’ part to the care and treatment of sick and injured mystical animals, undertaken by sorcerers who use spells to cure them. Now readers have been introduced to the four principal members of the cast and the Willows Whisper Veterinary Practice where they work, we see both Clarion and Nan at home when this story begins, and find out a little more about who they are. In Nan’s case, there are a few more hints as to the nature of that mysterious past that visitors to the surgery all whisper about. And then it’s time for the monthly ‘Winged Creature Clinic’ which is specially for flying creatures to come and receive treatment. It’s only once a month because it takes a little extra effort; part of the building has to be levitated to host them. “This way, our airborne clientele will feel more at ease during their visit, you see,” explains Dr Talon as their surgery ascends into the clouds.
As a variety of patients begin arriving, Glenn the Wildlife Warlock brings in an injured flying pig with no owner. Has it been mistreated? Who would do that to such a rare and precious creature, worth a small fortune? Dr Talon leaves the clinic to investigate Whisper Wood, and Clarion and Nan are left to deal with irate patients and their grumpy senior colleague, Nurse Chantsworth. Can they keep the surgery up in the air when Chantsworth starts an uproar with his rudeness? Sam Davies’ considerable skill at writing and drawing stylised, big-eyed and big-pawed animal, human, mythological and fantasy protagonists is put to good use in this story with lots of beautifully designed creatures that young readers will love. There’s a satisfying resolution to the mysteries that weave through this book. There’s also something of a new intrigue to chew over until the next volume appears, but while you wait for that you can pass the time with Sam Davies’ gentle webcomic Stutterhug: “an ongoing collection of short silent comics. Suitable for soft creatures of all ages” which has years of little stories to catch up with.