Story: Kat Howard
Art: Tom Fowler
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
What felt like mere moments in the Dreaming for Tim turned out to be significantly longer in the real world, and the consequences for his dreamtime walkabout are dire-not only for Timothy Hunter, but for those closest to him!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This installment of the Books of Magic feels like it’s wrapping up the foundational aspect of what it wants to be and that’s definitely welcome. We now feel like we’re moving forward and doing things, being proactive instead of reactive, and that helps a whole lot. Kat Howard has definitely put in some good material so far in getting us back into sync with Tim and what his world is like now. It’s also been a delight visually as Tom Fowler gives us a world just like ours but with things a little askew. After the trip to the Dreaming recently, getting back to something a little more grounded is welcome, even if it is chaotic after all that has happened.
Tim’s return to reality is something that comes after a number of events going on at school and around, as well as the way that the time away has left his father disappointed toward him to say the least. Tim knows that he has a bigger journey ahead of him and we get the rather sad moment of his owl being set with Hettie for a while, upon the approval of the other birds, but it’s lost to the news he learns after getting to school that Ellie has been taken. It’s interesting to see how he reacts as he wants to get right into finding her but his teacher is able to keep him grounded just enough so as to not overreact. Rose is looking to guide him more and more on this while keeping her own disappointments to the side but even she’s not coming across well here. Her denial about Tim meeting the new lord of the Dreaming puts her in a spot where Tim realizes that she may not know as much as she says sometimes and that has him being a bit warier.
But what really ups that is discovering the head of his dead teacher, Brisby, in Rose’s possession while she’s out of the room. With the last of his will, Brisby reveals that there are ways for Tim to get closer to finding his mother and that combined with the scrying tool that Rose has really tempts him. It’s another moment where he feels Rose is lying to him and we see how she simply says her methods would be very different from Brisby’s and he needs to trust her since Brisby’s group would rather Tim be dead overall. It’s almost a little sad, however, that Tim struggles with deciding who to go after first since they can focus on either Ellie or his mother. It’s no surprise that Ellie is rightly the one to go after but the struggle he goes through reminds you of the childishness that Tim still exhibits somewhat regularly.
I continue to enjoy the Books of Magic more than the other Sandman Universe books and it’s one that I can see sticking with the longest at this point, though The Dreaming has picked up as of late. Here, Tim has some good material as he grapples with what happened while he was in the Dreaming and making his own discoveries but there are real choices and costs put before him. Kat Howard gives us a lot to chew on overall with what we get here as there are a lot of wheels in motion and Tom Fowler once more presents a mundane world with just the right hints around the edges to blend it all together really well.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Vertigo Comics
Release Date: Mach 27th, 2019