The Books of Magic #13 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Layouts; Craig Taillefer, Finishes; Jordan Boyd, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The Books of Magic is the most deliberately paced of the four Sandman Universe books, but that’s not a criticism. The story of a boy being indoctrinated into the world of magic by teachers of dubious morality, one of its greatest strengths is the way it lets the consequences of Tim’s actions and those of the people around him develop.
Tim successfully rescued his friend Ellie from the world of magic, but the adventure has left her traumatized and hating magic, and his attempts to fool his father with magic has left the disabled old man in some sort of magical stupor. The first half of Books of Magic #13, as Tim tries ineptly to put his life back together, is one of the best examples of slow, meaningful awkwardness I’ve read in a comic in a while. And the addition of a new magical power player to the series may give Ellie a much bigger role in the story as she takes a dark path to exorcising her demons.
Tom Fowler on art does a great job of fusing the mundane and the supernatural, in scenes like Tim examining the magical bonds surrounding his father. The battle of wills between the enigmatic Doctor Rose and a new player raise the stakes nicely, but the heart of this series is in the relationship between Tim and his father. It’s been clear since the beginning that the heartbroken old man doesn’t exactly relate to his son, but it’s only when his father is “gone” that Tim realizes what he’s been taking for granted.
The last segment of Books of Magic #13, as Tim finally lets go of magic and finds a better way to restore his father’s mind, is surprisingly sweet and optimistic for a book paying tribute to the old-school Vertigo comics. This arc is a breather before new horrors come for Tim, no doubt, but it’s great to see the creative team can get as much mileage out of the small moments as the big ones.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.