The Books of Magic #2 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Artist; Jordan Boyd, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Tim, Digging Into HIs Choice
Ray: Two issues in, it’s clear that all the Sandman Universe books have their very distinct vibes. The Dreaming and House of Whispers have a distinct surreal vibe, while Lucifer is a dark and twisty supernatural noir. As for The Books of Magic, the last book to debut, it’s a much more accessible read and a much faster-paced story than any of the others. It’s possible to read it in the same time as it takes to read a Batman comic, but it’s also the one that requires the least previous knowledge of the universe. Tim Hunter is a part-time magic scholar, a part-time high-school student with a dysfunctional family. His father isn’t abusive, but the one-armed man who lost his wife is clearly not cued into parenthood at the moment. And his absence from his son’s life is leading Tim down a dangerous path. Unlike other “Boy learns magic” stories, this isn’t an idyllic tale – Tim is clearly obsessed with getting back to the place he was in the original series, and he makes impulsive and dangerous decisions on the regular.
This series uses magic sparingly, showing Tim’s minor triumphs as he manages to levitate a screwdriver. It’s not long after that that he decides to head out and track down his missing mother, leading him into a deeply dangerous situation. That intersects with the series’ other and less compelling storyline – his mentor Ms. Rose and her mission to keep him safe. She’s a very intriguing character with a lot of mysteries of her own, but the story she’s involved with mainly involves her killing a random assassin and then gutting her in a particularly grotesque way. I’m not really sure why the comic decided to get far more extreme with violence than any of its sister comics, but it doesn’t really seem to fit. It’s a false note in an otherwise intriguing issue.
Overall, Tim’s story continues to intrigue me, but I’m not sure the deliberate pace fully works for the series. Still, the line as a whole remains a strong read.
Corrina: For context, I’ve never read Tim Hunter’s previous series. He’s a totally new character to me and so is his supporting cast. The first issue was interesting but presented an angry and sullen protagonist in a somewhat basic story of a teen gifted with magic and struggling with his choices.
In Books of Magic #2, Tim did three things that caught my interest. First, he seems to be searching for a way to make his father whole again. That quick scene between them discussing the possibility, with his father oblivious, has enough emotion to make your heart break.
Second, Tim’s magical search for his mother. That was more expected. Of course, he wants to find his mother. But it provides him with another incentive to learn magic.
Third, his destruction of the assassins sent after him, and his horror at what he’d done. Tim wanted to save himself but his remorse at the deaths shows that he has the making of a hero. That story promises to be interesting.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.