This week Bilquis Evely is back on art, Simon Spurrier is picking up the story where we left off a few issues ago, and a computer of some sort is now the ruler of the Dreaming. No big deal. Oh wait, we might all be screwed. This latest issue packs a lot of punch, especially if you’re a big Sandman fan.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Chapter 9: “Entrances and Reflections.”
It seeks him here, it seeks him there,
The nightmare seeks him everywhere.
Is he in faerie, or among damned screams…?
That doomed, elusive Lord of Dreams…
Why does this matter?
As mentioned above, this issue dives into where Sandman has been and seems to be kicking off a search for the god who had wandered from his garden that is the Dreaming. Considering the Dreaming is falling apart it’s a search that couldn’t come fast enough.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Evely does another fantastic job and Mat Lopes’s colors add a richness that her lines deserve. Letters by Simon Bowland do a great job adding attitude to Matthew as well as seriousness when characters speak sometimes in overly verbose ways. The panel work is particularly beautiful with extra care given to how the curved edges and winding roses run up and down the pages. This is mixed in with clouds and stars framing the panels, both of which convey the Fairy realm, and also Sandman’s flashbacks well. It’s little details like this you might not notice on the first read. Once again Evely’s detailed lines help lift this amazing fantasy world into a more realistic and believable place. Her work stands out due to this but also the amazing framing.
This issue balances the events going on in the Dreaming with new details about what Sandman has been up to. Spurrier is very good at telling stories within stories and we get another here. There are also fun additions like a creature that hunts dreams, just to name one, that continues to help add a richness to this already rich tapestry that is Neil Gaiman’s work. You get the sense that gods who talk verbosely and with confidence are real and yet it’s easy to reflect on how this kind of speaking would be ridiculous any other way. The art helps, of course, but Spurrier does well to put you in the mindset of gods who are deservedly arrogant.
It’s also fantastic how adult this book is without making it overtly so. Characters swear, have sex, and act as adults should. The way this is written and approached is with a serious hand, further making it feel bigger than a comic and deservedly telling a serious tale worth reading.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This is a dense read much like Vertigo books of old. That means you’ll turn the page and not necessarily understand what is going on and repeated read throughs, or at least another read through once this is all over, might be in order. That can sometimes leave you confused or wanting, which is a pickle to be in for sure.
Is it good?
A return of Dora, her adventure, and the search for the Dreaming. The first arc was beautifully done but entrenched in the Dreaming, almost shackled by it. This issue begins a new arc revealing the search for Sandman which is something that was on our minds from the very beginning.