[Editor’s Note: This Review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Simon Spurrier & Kat Howard
Artist: Tom Fowler, Craig Taillefer
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Todd Klein
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Holy Crap! Books of Magic #14 has the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine on the cover looking to do some serious damage to our earnest hero Tim Hunter. John arranges a meeting with Tim promising him one of the titular Books of Magic. Tim shows up ready for anything as Constantine is not always known for being true to his word.
John seems a bit surprised that Tim is still a kid as John is aware of other timelines and universes where Tim, the chosen one, Hunter grows up to be a killer and kind of a monster. John tricks Tim and calls forth Vestibulan, Divine Duke of Integrity and Impartiality. There is a test and some magical cannibals. Tim eats something that will not sit well in the morning.
I think that Fowler and Taillifer have outdone themselves this month. Tim Hunter is a pretty plain looking kid. Drawing him must get old. The best thing about Books of Magic as a series and Books of Magic #14 in particular is the extra uglies that keep showing up. This issue is full of ugly, nasty monsters. The art team made me quite literally sick to my stomach in a few places. I get that there is nothing positive about being sick to your stomach, but when the art work seems so realistic that you tie yourself in knots, that is a good thing for sure. Just take a look.
I am not sure why Constantine keeps showing up in the Sandman Universe books, but it does not always work. It does not work here. Tim’s story is complicated enough and Kat Howard has been doing an amazing job for a year, on her own. I am not blaming this on Spurrier, but this book is the weakest of the series. It just seems out of place and unnecessary. It would make more sense for Tim to show up in John’s book than the other way around. This is essentially a Constantine story featuring Tim Hunter.
I am not sure what is happening here. There is some timey wimey craziness happening. Constantine is clearly part of the Sandman Universe now and so we are going to have to deal with the new reality of that (or in this case the old reality as John is bringing the past back). I have really loved this series so far and I worry for the future of it. In Kat Howard I will trust (as long as she gets to have full control of this book again) and I will reserve my final judgment. Every book has a bumpy issue now and again. This just may be Books of Magic’s speed bump.