Books of Magic No. 6 review: “A Twist In The Narrative”


Perilous journeys begin in Books of Magic.

The Sandman universe covers an almost unbelievable amount of territory, from Norse Gods to Japanese wind-deities, talking stuffed animals to the anthropomorphic personifications of delirium and despair. Mixed in all this are quite a few humans, some borne of those personifications, some borne of other gods, and some with parentage as yet to be revealed. Timothy Hunter, the main character in the new relaunch of Books of Magic, is nominally a British kid with a missing mother, striking strong tones of Harry Potter, even though the original Books of Magic was written years before J.K. Rowling ever hit the stands. Written by Kat Howard, drawn by Tom Fowler, colored by Jordan Boyd and lettered by Todd Klein, with a cover from the talented Kai CarpenterBooks of Magic follows the travails of a boy destined to be the greatest magician in the DC/Vertigo universe.

Vertigo Comics

Who hasn’t had their love interest turned into a MacGuffin?

In the last issue, an evil magician masquerading as the librarian at school made an evil pact with Tim’s least favorite bully, and kidnapped Ellie, the girl that Tim likes, transporting her to some kind of magical realm. This issue opens up with Tim’s curmudgeonly father giving him grief for not checking in, which any teenager can relate to. Tim drops off his familiar, an owl named Yo-Yo, with Mad Hettie and her pigeons, and heads to school, where he learns that Ellie has come up missing. Obviously, Tim must now go on a quest to find her. Moments later, Dr. Rose, Tim’s substitute teacher who is actually a powerful magician showing Tim the ropes, as it were, summons him into her office, but is briefly called away. In the office is a scrying bowl, which Tim uses to catch a glimpse of his mother, who disappeared into magical nothingness some time ago.

Vertigo Comics

Talking heads and mystical maps

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In that time, Tim discovers the skull of Dr. Brisby, the teacher Dr. Rose replaced, which has had strange runes carved into it. The skull tells him not to trust Dr. Rose, which Tim immediately believes. Dr. Rose returns, and he confronts her about his dead teacher’s head, which she explains away as simply protecting him, which he also immediately believes. She has also found Ellie’s headband in the library, “magically cloaked”, and this solidifies Tim’s intentions to track down his missing friend. Using the scrying bowl, Dr. Rose summons a magical map that leads to where Ellie might be, with detours through such places as “Elsewere”, “Faerie”, and “Mortal Peril”.  They decide to team up and find the missing student, so Tim stops off back at home and waves his screwdriver-wand at his father, putting a spell on him so that he doesn’t wonder where his son has gotten off to.

Next. Walky-Talky gets the gang back together in Age Of Doom No. 9!. dark

Well, Tim left his owl with an immortal bag-lady, so doubtless he’ll be missing Yo-Yo in a crucial moment yet to come. Dr. Rose has been a helpful influence, but she did disembowel Tim’s teacher and keep his skull in a bag in her office. So it’s unclear how truly pure her intentions are. 8/10, recommended. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.