Story: David Barnett
Art: Tom Fowler, Craig Taillefer
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
If Tim and his newfound crush wish to escape the pan-dimensional pandemonium of Festival, they’re going to have to reckon with the man who’s trying to turn it to his own purposes-and heal a psychic wound that was inflicted before Tim was even born!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Books of Magic series is a dead man walking series with the news that it’ll be ending with the 23rd issue later this summer. That’s certainly unfortunate after a largely solid and enjoyable run that featured some great artwork from Fowler and Taillefer, which continues through this issue easily. I’ve enjoyed their style on the book with how it has a kind of mundane aspect about a lot of it which lets the more fantastical elements shine brighter. David Barnett certainly came on at the wrong time in taking over the book but I liked his opening arc here overall and having it fairly self-contained was a plus over two issues so that we got to see Tim doing things he normally wouldn’t have.
With Geoff having laid claim over the festival, things go bad pretty quickly on a couple of fronts. Some of the tough guys that are there see him as a way to establish authority and begin working for him as a bodyguards and other factions start showing up as well. Twig does his best to reach his friend but the reality is that Geoff fought long and hard to get back here and really made some dark plays to gain the power that he has here. His life back on Earth is one where he risked all and even broke his back, causing him to suffer even more. With all of that whisked away and finally back to where he always wanted to be, and with his best friend, it’s perfection. Except for the fact that Twig desperately just wants to leave and even admits he was going to quit the band all those years ago.
It’s amusing to watch as these things come out and Geoff has to realize how little he was listening all that time and that it’s not really going to get him what he wants. Plus, as he discovers, his method for taking control here and closing off the festival is now strangling it and killing it, which puts everyone in a position to want to eliminate him as a way to break free and get home. It wraps up in a way that you’d expect, giving Twig his chance to really have one more time in the spotlight, and it plays well while reinforcing the bond that the two do have. And it lets Izzy have a little fun with Tim as well, though it’s a bit of a cheap shot to make it so that everything is forgotten. I hate it when writers use that as it’s either a delaying tactic or a way of saying they’ll likely never get there.
I’m definitely going to miss Books of Magic when it was gone because I had hoped they were finally going to give Tim a chance to start growing up and become more active in this, especially with this whole Sandman Universe imprint that’s now becoming nothing at all by all appearances. Barnett has some good fun with this storyline as the dialogue is enjoyable, the flow works well, the flashbacks are handled right, and I mostly like the resolution outside of what Izzy does – but more so because it’s wiped away. Between that and some solid as always artwork from the team, it’s a good book with a good conclusion to this two-part storyline.