The Books of Magic #3 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Artist; Jordan Boyd, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Three issues in, The Books of Magic continues the Sandman Universe’s perfect streak of quality books. While none of the titles are perfect, all are developing into compelling thrillers. Tim Hunter’s story is easily the most straightforward of the four, but its greatest strength is its compelling young lead. The book never shies away from the emotional toll that this secret magical quest is taking on a young teenager, and last issue saw him confronted by an army of powerful assassins and forced to kill them in self-defense. He’s clearly rattled by this, and has been gripped by insomnia ever since.
Of course, as a magic user, his attempt to count sheep has consequences – actual sheep running around his small London house. At the same time, he’s still an impulsive kid at heart, and some of his uses of magic – such as enchanting a toy car for a homeless woman he’s befriending – are genuinely sweet.
Yes, the series has a seriously dark edge at times, and the shady teacher whose place Rose took is in fact not missing. He’s dead, and the issue finally has everyone find out. As the school is in mourning, Tim has a confrontation with Rose over the toll that learning magic is taking on him.
Kat Howard is great at writing Tim’s raw emotions, and that’s what keeps this series as good as it is. As Tim’s powers evolve, the series never loses sight of the fact that he’s a kid and keeps a sense of eerie wonder around his magic. The last page adds a dark horror twist to things, but overall this is telling a classic story with some new elements. Of all the books in this line, it feels like the one that’s keeping the truest to its original source material. Even if it has reset Tim to an earlier stage in his quest, it’s keeping things fresh and classic at the same time.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.