The Sandman Universe: Books of Magic #1
Writer: Kat Howard
Artist: Tom Fowler
Covers: Kai Carpenter; Joshua Middleton
Publisher: DC/Vertigo Comics
A long time ago a boy named Tim Hunter was given a choice: mundane or magic. Now granted the choice came from a Trickster, a Detective (of sorts), a Historian and a Time-Lord so you can forgive him for being a bit hesitant about what he should do. Eventually, though, choose he did and from that point on his life took several twist and turns until he landed at the end of time itself.
That’s where our story begins.
The Sandman Universe: Books of Magic #1 picks up almost twenty years from the last issue of The Books of Magic and Tim, unknowingly, is starting from the beginning. For Tim, none of the events of the previous verse happened, however for those watching over him – good and bad – all of those events did and their impact is still being felt. So, how does Tim, who hasn’t lived through the joys and traumas of the previous timeline, learn what he needs to, to become the greatest Magician of all time? By asking the right questions, of course.
Kat Howard does a fantastic job of layering over the then and the now, without making it too difficult for new readers to jump in. In all honesty I picked this book to review because I was genuinely confused: what do you mean there’s a Books of Magic #1? Didn’t I already read, and love, that series over a decade ago? I have questions! Yet, due to Howard’s deftness with the writing and clear understanding of the characters most of my questions were answered and new one’s arose (in a good way). This isn’t a reboot, nor is it a throwing away of previous continuity, instead we’re taking the next step in the journey of Tim’s growth right along with him and figuring out what’s next.
The artwork by Tom Fowler is fantastic, echoing the look of the previous run without trying to be the same thing. The details in the background – pay attention: you can catch hints about or flat out see all of Tim’s previous companions just outside of every frame – are a delight for those of us who read the original run and ping the radar of new readers who have passing knowledge of the characters from other books. Fowler also does a great job building up the sense of danger that surrounds Tim in the way he uses shadows and framing to enhance the overall storyline that Howard is laying out. It’s a great collaboration and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
Overall I’m wonderfully surprised that The Sandman Universe: The Books of Magic has been resurrected in such a delightful way.
Five Yo-Yos out of Five