Review – The Books of Magic #5 (DC Vertigo)

Publisher: DC Vertigo
Writer: Kat Howard
Artwork: Tom Fowler
Colours: Jordan Boyd
Release Date: 27th February  2019

Just like I thought, with the end of last issue the complex puzzle that is DC Vertigo’s Sandman Universe is once again starting to overlap in the most wonderful and exciting way.

Issue 5 of The Books of Magic is the first to really cross over into another Vertigo title since Lucifer appeared in the first Sandman book during the launch a few months ago.  What’s more, it does so in a way that delicately eases you into the changes, witnessing them through Tim Hunter’s unbeknownst eyes so you don’t necessarily have to be up to date with everything in The Dreaming (although if you’ve been reading my reviews of the current run, you’ll see why you definitely should be!)

Tim has entered The Dreaming with his feathered companion in an attempt to stop the nightmares which have been plaguing him, but finds but finds it to be a very different place from the one he once visited. After a while he finds at one person who at least appears to be normal in the form the current librarian of the vast library. She eases his worries somewhat before sending him on his way to meet the new Lord of Dreaming, a being who speaks less sense than Delirium of the Endless did and who looks to have reasons of his own to delay Tim’s departure from the realm.

During his absence, Tim’s grumpy and slightly bruised bully plots Hunter’s magical discovery to the rest of the world with the traitorous Mr Davies, a man with his own magical agenda and absolutely no concerns about putting Tim’s loved ones in danger to get what he wants.

The Grimm fairytale theme continues as this particular chapter of the Sandman Universe begins to come to a close. Kat Howard has written something truly magical here that genuinely cheers you up to read, featuring the same problems faced by all youngsters trying to find their way in the world – albeit with a magical twist. This issue also features characters we know and love, but portrayed in a different way as they teach the young mage lessons and lead him down paths both for his own benefit and for their own possibly nefarious ones.

It just goes to show the huge amount of thought and planning that has gone into the Sandman Universe relaunch to have the characters overlapping in such a way that, as the initial storylines start to close, you can begin to see the bigger picture and just how much there is still to tell.

Rounding things out, the artwork of Tom Fowler and Jordan Boyd adds to the real magic of this book, with the Disney-esque feel of the character design making them truly stand out against the weird, insanity-induced fantasy land that The Dreaming has now become. If I were looking for a perfect summary of the aesthetic and feel of the book it would be in the panels of two familiar brothers regaling Tim with warm friendly smiles, only to suddenly turn into grotesque demons clawing at each other’s throats. And that’s exactly what The Books of Magic is, a magical journey into the truth of what the world really is. Amazing, but bloody dangerous at the same time.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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