The Books of Magic #17 – Kat Howard, Writer; Tom Fowler, Artist; Marissa Louise, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Kat Howard and Tom Fowler started this series as a slice-of-life adventure about a young boy grappling with the darker side of magic, but over the last few months it’s taken on a much larger-scale and much creepier tone. That’s all due to the arrival of the second Tim Hunter, seemingly a refugee from John Constantine’s world who became corrupted by dark magic and is seeking to extend his conquest here.
Now pursuing his younger self for the book, they’re locked in a frozen alternate dimension that is deeply inhospitable, with the older Tim trying to force Tim to open the door for him into the real world. But Tim, having encountered too many magical horrors in the past, decides to seal himself away in the other world instead – trapping himself with his doppelganger in a frozen hell with no way out and no way of communicating with any of his friends or mentors.
Tim soon builds himself a small hiding place and spends all his time trying to stay ahead of his doppelganger, until Rose and Celia notice his absence and pursue him into the alternate dimension. This kicks off a tense chase sequence in Books of Magic #17, as Tim and his two mentors try to stay alive.
But the big twist of Books of Magic #17 comes when it’s revealed exactly where this alternate dimension actually is, and where Tim truly is. This is a story of the Dreaming, after all, and the last page has a great visual that drives home the stakes of this plot.
Is the other Tim Hunter here at all? Is this all a projection of Tim’s subconscious? Or is the Dreaming itself creating a new threat to the future of magic? There are a lot of unanswered questions here, but Howard manages to ground them effectively in one boy’s battle to understand his destiny and outrun his enemies. It’s the most straightforward of the Sandman Universe books, and one of the most compelling.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.