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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

The Books of Magic #7: Death after Death

Reviewed: January 22, 2008
By: written by John Ney Rieber / art by Peter Gross, Jill Thompson, Temujin and Richard Case
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
230 pages, $20.75

So there’s this kid, see. He’s just entering puberty, wears glasses and hasn’t got a very good home life. And, unknown to him, he’s a magician.

No - it’s not Harry Potter.

A few years before anyone heard of Hogwarts, author Neil Gaiman and artist John Bolton created Timothy Hunter and whisked him through a four issue mini-series in which he met nearly every mystic in the DC Comics universe, guided in his quest by the trench coat brigade of John Constantine, Dr. Occult, the Phantom Stranger and Mister E.

That might have been the end, but instead the concept was handed to John Ney Rieber, who teamed up with a changing group of artists to carry Tim’s struggle with accepting his legacy through about four years of a monthly comic book series. It won a number of awards and took Tim through the perils of self-discovery and the pains of loss.

The book at hand here is the last of the collected trade paperbacks of the series, all of which can still be found in comic shops and at Amazon.ca. even though it’s been 10 years since the series ended. In it, Tim discovers that he has been coping with his confusion (puberty plus magical awakening) by distancing himself from everyone that was ever important to him. In the midst of a near apocalypse, Tim has to work his way through to self-acceptance.

There are all sorts of loose ends here, enough that I understand there was a later series by a different creative team, but the 50 issues of this series seem to me to stand alone and tell a tale.

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