Writer: Kat Howard
Artist: Tom Fowler
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Lettering: Todd Klein
Cover: Kai Carpenter
Publisher: DC Comics
First off, Neil Gaiman is one of the most difficult acts to follow in writing anything, period. His level of worldbuilding is unparalleled and his pacing is close to perfect in everything I’ve ever read of his (I think I’ve read at least 80 percent of what Gaiman has published). Therefore, I give a lot of props to any writer for even considering taking on one of his creations or coming after one of his brilliant . Unfortunately, most writers fall very short of even the halfway mark to Gaiman’s level, and Kat Howard has just joined them.
I’ve been so excited about this Sandman Universe set of series, and I have enjoyed House of Whispers immensely. This first issue of Books of Magic, however, is bland, boring and dare I say, lifeless. It comes off as inspired by Harry Potter fan fiction (and yes, the comparisons between J.K. Rowling’s creation and Gaiman’s have been done to death) rather than anything penned by the illustrious master of the fantastic and supernatural.
Timothy Hunter hasn’t been fleshed out well in a long time, and he certainly wasn’t here. Very stereotypical and flat, the only reason I like him at all is because of the art (which I’ll tackle in the next paragraph). There is no three dimensionality to him at all; the everyday conflicts he encounters are just bad copies of tropish teen situations and the whole magical element isn’t done very magically at all. I’m highly disappointed in the whole story, from the first page to the last. There seems to be no interest or passion for this world or these characters at all: just a feel of “let me get this job done so I can get paid” mentality. The plot could benefit from a lot of improvement, and even if it has been done, a lot of research and inspiration from the original.
Luckily, the art makes up for some of the lackluster writing. I loved the first few pages, visually. The drawings and colors continued to be strong throughout, though the designs of many of the panels after the initial opening didn’t seem to have much creativity, but that’s probably because the story had zero creativity either.
A big let down, I wish I could forget this book and have a start over with a new first issue of The Books of Magic next month. Timothy Hunter, Neil Gaiman, and the DC Universe deserve better storytelling.