[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kat Hunter
Artist: Tom Fowler
Inker: Jordan Boyd
Once upon a time, there a boy called Timothy Hunter. He seemed like a usual boy except he totally is not.
In the new version of Books of Magic, we get a brief history of Tim Hunter. He falls asleep in class, gets into a fight, tries to do a magic trick, gets a book and finds out that nothing is what is seems. This is the Sandman Universe, so that is to be expected.
Tom Fowler’s visual flashbacks on the first few pages are flat out fantastic. Take your time with these. This is the real back story. The page layout is a bit topsy turvy, but spin the book around in your hands, or if you are going digital, lock your screen and spin it around. It is worth it.
In addition to that fun time with, Fowler just really captures being a teenager here. Granted, Tim is not the normal teenager, he is still one. There is angst. Rage. Confusion. More rage. Because Tim does not have a ton of friends, it is all on his face, in his balled fists, in the way he throws himself down on his bed or the way he is mortified in the face of the girl he likes.
Hunter does a nice job giving Tim some nice external dialogue. Because we do not hear him think, we have to see how he thinks in the way he speaks to others and, at the end, they way he speaks aloud to himself. He is a likable loser.
Before everyone loses their collective minds, let’s take a trip down the old memory hole. Tim Hunter was created by Neil Gaiman in 1990. That other magician who looks a lot like Tim Hunter was created in 1997. Calm down. Yes, Tim seems a bit trite and the story seems a bit “been there done that” but remember, this a reboot of something that was first. I worry that there is some fatigue on this story, but we will have to wait.
The other problem here is that this needs to be a double issue. World building takes time and a few pages from Fowler does a lot of work here, but there is just so much missing. 10 more pages could have gone a long way.
Overall, this has a ton of potential. Because of magic, we get a chance to have Tim break into the rest of the DC universe, which is something I hope for. Constantine is already a cross over hero/villain/whatever, so it is hopeful that Tim will join him on an adventure or two. It is a quick read, so slow down and enjoy the art and then, after that pretty great last page, put your order in for issue two.