Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Hey, Ellie! Do you want to see some magic?"
"Like a trick?"
"Real magic, of course. I would never trick you."
"I hold in my hands nothing but coloured paper. But once I say the magic word, they will become flowers! ABRACADABRA! Er..."
"That was... um. Good try!"
Which probably neatly sums up how I feel about this opener, really...
Part of the recent Sandman Universe material also featuring THE DREAMING VOL 1: PATHWAYS AND EMANATIONS, LUCIFER VOL 1: THE INFERNAL COMEDY and THE HOUSE OF WHISPERS VOL 1: POWERS DIVIDED, I really, really wanted this particular title to be brilliant because I hold the original THE BOOKS OF MAGIC material in the very highest regard. Always difficult to follow absolute perfection though I guess!
So, young Tim is back at school, real school not magical school, but it appears he has seemingly forgotten much of what he has already learnt of the mystic curriculum. Fortunately help is on hand in the form of his teacher Dr. Rose, who is of course half of Dr. Occult along with Richard. Well, technically she was bonded to his soul when he died at some distant point in DC past if memory serves, but you get my drift.
Tim hasn't forgotten he is seemingly destined to the greatest magician of his age, for good or evil - again see: THE BOOKS OF MAGIC - nor indeed the tumultuous events which occurred in that epic adventure leading him to this point. Which is why I am utterly perplexed that he doesn't seem to recognise Rose when he first sees her. Not sure that is a mystery which is going to get solved, or maybe it will.
Anyway, he also definitely hasn't forgotten his mum. His dead mum. Or merely his missing mum, depending on your perspective... That semantic difference is going to ensure Tim gets himself into his first round of fresh trouble, though of course there are darker forces determined to steer Timothy in their direction, or just remove him from play completely.
We also see the return of some other familiar SANDMAN / BOOKS OF MAGIC mythos characters, such as Tim's perennially glued-to-the-TV deadpan dad, plus a firm favourite of mine, the fabulously bonkers Mad Hettie, who as ever is most definitely not quite so completely hatstand as she appears. Just mostly!
Tom DOOM PATROL Fowler's vibrant art is considerably different and less gritty than the other three Sandman Universe titles, but actually works well in capturing the restless nature of the somewhat mercurial teenage wizard complete with all his surging hormones and teenage angst.
I think were it not for the exceptional original material, I would have been sufficiently entertained by this in its own right anyway. Even so, I have persisted with it in single issue form and it is pulling enough rabbits out of the proverbial hat for me to keep reading it. Plus, no spoilers, but there have already been more guest appearances from familiar characters and I am sure that trend will continue.
Particularly given the recent announcement regarding the return of one John Constantine esquire in a forthcoming one-shot and then new ongoing HELLBLAZER series penned by Si Spurrier, which is all apparently going to tie-in directly and follow on from the original BOOKS OF MAGIC...