Story: David Barnett
Art: Tom Fowler, Craig Taillefer
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
From the moment he first discovered magic, Tim Hunter has been pursued by the mysterious organization known as the Cold Flame. But who are they? And why are they so determined to get their hands on the artifact Tim is hunting for, the Book of Possibilities? The answers to those two questions will change Tim’s life forever!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As Books of Magic gets close to winding down the series ends up playing in the realms it should have all this time. I liked a lot of what we had in the main run, in general, as it helped to show a grounded Tim as he was being watched and guided before he started making choices. David Barnett now has him getting ready to do so and understanding what they mean, which is great except for the book ending. Tom Fowler and Craig Taillefer have been fantastic on this series and seeing them spend time illustrating The Dreaming has me wishing we spent more time with Tim there as well as other realms. The mundane was well-handled and we got to know Tim better through it, but all the hooks are now coming in just as we get ready to end.
Tim’s life is definitely going through changes thanks to Izzy as she’s now showing up at school as a transfer student, which certainly has Rose really concerned about her influence and potential, which has her getting Celia to do some research on her. Izzy’s hooks are definitely in Tim as he had a dream about her the night before, which was better than the death dream he had, but discovering that she did that through blood magic thanks to her cycle puts him on edge. The lack of a defense against someone inserting themselves into his dreams is a huge red flag yet at the same time he’s still attracted to her in his own way. Which gets to the other students who are wary of her in seeing how Izzy is super friendly with him and dismissive of our favorite petulant jock boy as well.
While we see that trio that includes Ellie and Fatima being gifted the Book of Possibilities through Cold Flame using a courier of sorts, the real journey here is Tim heading off to the Dreaming. He’s keeping Izzy away from this and has to run the course with his father, but once there it’s great to see him come alive as he deals with Cain and Abel a bit and then meets with Lucien to discuss the book and options there. It has wonderful small moments with Mervyn that touches on Tim’s owl as well which is delightful. But where the book really got me is when Tim spends more time exploring the Dreaming and ends up in Dreamherst where the dream of the ghost of Emily Dickinson arrives. It’s an engaging conversation about choices that Tim needs to have as he has many in front of him, but I really just like the way she talks about what this existence is like and the way she views what her sister did, coming off as a betrayal to her in this sort of afterlife.
The mini-Glastonbury arc was fun and it delved into some amusing magic and all but this installment is delivering what I’ve been craving for this run. The venture into the Dreaming is big and the final page teaser is even more delicious. It’s unfortunate that all of it is coming at the end of the run of the series and I can’t see these characters getting used again for a while because that’s usually what happens when books are canceled like this. I’m eager to see where it goes next as the creative team is firing on all cylinders here and the reveals could be quite fantastic. There’s a lot to like here for Sandman Universe fans and I’m definitely curious to see if we’ll get a big reveal with Izzy before all is said and done.