Story: Kat Howard
Art: Tom Fowler
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
Tim embraces his access to magic, trying to do as much as he can as quickly as his power will let him. Overwhelmed by enthusiasm and impatience, he ignores Dr. Rose’s warnings and fails to consider the consequences of his actions. And they could be dire.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of this series was the strongest of the first issues in terms of story and accessibility for me with the new Sandman Universe books. That doesn’t quite continue on with the second issue but it still largely works well with Kat Howard keeping things well focused here and without throwing too many big and crazy ideas at us. It also works well as Tom Fowler delivers another great looking book, especially that disturbing disembowelment page, that makes this feel like a lived-in and familiar world for most of us. The flow continues to work well though there’s a mild disconnect getting back into this from the first issue, again making me wish that there were recap pages at the start here.
With Tim being hunted as we saw before, that doesn’t go quite well for the hunter as Rose is there watching over him. Not that he knows as he’s struggling with the book but what we see of Rose and the hunter is brutal. She’s able to take her down quickly in a really brutal sequence with how Fowler illustrates it with the rain but the way she digs into her whole body in order to find out what she knows is just the kind of dark magic that I’m hoping for from the book from time to time. But as mentioned, that page where all the innards are laid out and you know Rose is basically doing a reading on them says a lot about her and just makes the dynamic between her and Tim all the more engaging.
For Tim, his struggle with the book finally gets him to understand some of the words in it and to start playing around with the magic a bit, which makes a lot of noise at home that his father doesn’t care for. I really like the time between the two of them as we get a really neat moment where you see Tim wondering if he can heal his father’s amputated arm and do some good for him. That’s one of the better scenes for Tim as what we see of him at school has him coming across as a bit younger than his age in how he handles his excitement but that also plays well when he goes out that night experimenting with the magic in the outside world. But even this is understandable as he’s trying to use magic to find his mother, which one can imagine will not go anywhere near as well as he hopes.
Though the second issue doesn’t feel as clearly driven as the first issue was, mostly owing to reading so many other things between issues, there’s a lot to like here. Tim’s young and really eager because he wants to help others (for his own selfish but understandable needs) and that’s going to lead to mistakes. Especially since he’s unaware of the variety of dangers out there. Howard is setting things up well with what’s going on and hinting at the bigger stakes while Fowler is keeping it all grounded for the most part, which makes the magical moments feel like they’re all the more engaging and exciting. It’s a solid book that I’m eager to see more of with what’s intended to see if it can really capture what it is that Tim is all about.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Vertigo Comics
Release Date: November 28th, 2018