Publisher: DC Vertigo
Writer: Kat Howard
Artists: Tom Fowler, Brian Churilla
Colours: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Todd Klein
Release Date: 24th April 2019
Tim Hunter’s search for his lost friend heats up even more this week as he and his mentor begin their quest. It’s great to see the action start to ramp up a bit more this issue, and even if the story usually takes place around Tim’s normal life, issues like this show us just how big and complex the Vertigo universe still is, and – just like Lucifer – how well-versed the writers are when it comes to its rich mythology.
The pigeons (and indeed magical owls) have come home to roost in regards to the numerous crimes that have befallen Tim’s school, as news of the death of a teacher and disappearance of a student hit the headlines. A pair of detectives have been dispatched to investigate and in their absence all fingers are being pointed straight at Tim and his teacher Rose, who have stumbled into the world of the Fae – a place where the encroaching police force are the last of their concerns.
This latest issue illustrates just what has made this series and the rest of the Sandman Universe brilliant in the first place, and why it continues to fill us with a sense of awe and wonderment. Namely, a cast of stable characters that this group of creators took their time to (re)introduce in the first arcs, ones as complex as they are relatable, and who are now exploring the furthest reaches of literature and magical creation.
Lucifer has brought us a mix of William Blake and Shakespeare with a bohemian Bowie twist, The Dreaming has given us a fresh interpretation of bible tale of Cain and Abel, and now Books of Magic has brought the queen of the summer court of Fae Titiana into the mix. But perhaps what’s most appealing is that fact that it does it in such a natural way that it feels like a logical of the story, in this case bringing Tim face to face with his forgotten past and casting a shadow of suspicion over the purposely ambiguous Rose.
And, of course it would be a disservice at this point not to mention the magically stylish tones of the art. Howard may be the conductor but Fowler, Churilla, Boyd and Klein are the musicians bringing this dark Disney tune to life. It actually gives me strong vibes of the darker side of Disney, like the bits from The Rescuers or Basil The Great Mouse Detective that leave you wondering how they made it into a kid’s film in the first place. Softly drawn characters in scenes that were so dark and grotesque they would give you bloody nightmares. Case in point, the dark reflection of Tim tormenting his counterpart in a dream, the maniacal grin of shark teeth on a fairy, the white reflection of the cold flame magician slamming a portal closed on our heroes. The images will stick with you.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, this is yet another bloody good comic!
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy