Books of Magic #1 // Review
Neil Gaiman’s infamous young wizard, Timothy Hunter, has returned looking better than ever, as Vertigo spins out new and familiar ongoing titles within the Sandman Universe imprint. Old fans will rejoice, as the story continues immediately after the original Gaiman classic, maintaining room for Kat Howard to script her own stories while growing an all-new fanbase alongside artist Tom Fowler. In what is essentially a reboot of Tim’s first ongoing series, which followed Gaiman’s four issue mini in the 90’s, readers new and old join a young Tim Hunter at the early days of his magical career. While many familiar boxes are checked in this first issue, more questions are left open as new adventures await the young Merlin.
While Tim Hunter must come to grips with the new magical world and the prophecies thrusted upon him, he will learn of the magic that has always surrounded his life. As characters push and pull Tim in new and potentially dangerous directions, he will be forced to forge his own path. With the prospect of alternate versions of himself, beings from other worldly dimensions, and a Faerie teacher in his very own school, readers and Tim have much to look forward to this semester, and it’s only the first day!
Kat Howard brings Tim back from obscurity without missing a single beat. Howard embodies the uncertain nature of the young wizard perfectly, displaying an adolescent thrust into a world beyond his understanding. Whether from the world of Magic or just another day in school, Tim is constantly in over his head. The issue assumes readers have read the original four issues from Gaiman, but is able to expertly weave the events that occured into the narrative of this story, bringing about a nice refresher as well as sparking interest to go back for the original. Much of this issue is just getting reintroduced with Tim Hunter and the world he lives in, but Howard still manages to set this issue apart from its predecessors.
Nearly three decades since Tim’s original debut, Tom Fowler brings his signature pencils to the series, adding a long-since-missing stylized layer of detail. Every panel leaves an impression, and makes a statement about these characters and their world. Fowler’s character work is the heart of the issue; Tim’s facial expressions at any given time paint a very elaborate picture for readers of the plethora of emotions he is dealing with. From the stylized, beautiful opening pages to the mundane everyday life of Tim, Fowler’s art uplifts the material, birthing new life into a cult classic.
Kat Howard’s complete understanding of what makes fans feel such an affinity with this character is perfectly on display. Fowler's art brings the precise tone and look this series has long deserved. With a promising start at their feet, this duo looks to create an amazing “coming of age” tale for new and old readers alike