It's been just a few months since DC Vertigo launched The Sandman Universe series of comics stemming from Neil Gaiman's beloved Sandman saga, but the various titles within the universe already have readers spellbound. Books of Magic, from writer Kat Howard and artist Tom Fowler, has been a particularly standout journey, and today SYFY WIRE is offering this exclusive look at the next issue, Books of Magic #3.
Books of Magic follows a young boy named Tim Hunter who, after receiving a visit from some of the great magical minds in the DC Universe, has accepted his destiny to become the world's greatest magician. Sadly, it's not going so well just yet. Tim hasn't exactly been a fast learner, and as he tries to get the hang of the whole magic thing, he has to deal with school, the mystery of his lost mother, and the strange deaths that keep occurring all around him.
Issue #3 of the series will see Tim dealing with yet another death, as one of his teachers turns up murdered in what could be a ritualistic way, and the young magician could use a little protection of his own.
"He's dealing with a lot, and the deaths, among other things, weigh on him," Howard tells SYFY WIRE. "Of course, not everything is going to be gloom and doom, but one of the ongoing themes of this story arc is that magic has consequences. The emotional consequences and how Tim copes with those are going to be just as important as the more tangible consequences."
The series has so far been propelled by Howard's story of Tim trying to gain a firmer grasp on his magical abilities, and the unpredictability of it all in these early issues makes it an instant page-turner. That's all helped along, of course, by a great art team, which Howard teased will only get better in the pages to come.
"Tom, Jordan Boyd (colors), and Todd Klein (lettering) are all doing amazing work, and I swear every time I see a new Kai Carpenter cover, I immediately proclaim that one to be my favorite," Howard says. "I'm working with a great team. It's almost hard for me to talk about favorite pages and panels because they're all fabulous. But I will say that here in Issue #3, there is a sequence between Tim and Mad Hettie that's so lovely that it makes me smile every time I see it."
Even aside from the immediate consequences of his magic on the world right outside his window, as we'll see in the preview pages below, Tim is still focused on learning as much as he can so that he can use his new abilities to retrieve his mother. It's become an obsession for him, and Howard teased that we shouldn't expect that to go away anytime soon.
"I know where Tim wants [his journey] to take him, and that's to find his mother. Which I think is a pretty understandable impulse — if someone I loved suddenly went missing, and I discovered I had magic powers, I would definitely be trying to use that ability to find that person," Howard explains. "Tim's mother matters to him, so of course he's going to do whatever he can to find her again."
Books of Magic #3 is on sale next week, on Jan. 2. Check out the first five pages in the exclusive gallery below.