Sandman returns, late but better for it
It sounds as though I’m doing Neil Gaiman a disservice by calling this second issue, a “standard” Neil Gaiman story. This is not my intent, a standard Neil Gaiman story is a deep, well thought out piece of work that just get better with every read through. I love this story and it continues to introduce new head turning, imaginative concepts that I find myself wishing for more on the other aspects of Dream. There are so many fascinating ideas that seem to be mentioned and dropped in a moment and every page is a delight partly because of the startlingly beautiful work of JH Williams.
JH Williams, bring his usual incredibly rich and detailed work to this book, and to be honest the art is worth the price of the book alone. William’s panelling in particular is breathtaking and makes you wish that other artists would take risks with their panelling. It’s indescribably good, which is just how a piece of work focused on dreaming should be. William’s other dream aspects are beautiful I loved the first aspect of dream as some Lovecraftian-esque beast, yet retaining the visual elements that make dream a recognisable character despite his form changing shape.
Other brilliant moments in this book include Dream realising how smug he sounds, which had me laughing aloud in my office. The humour in this book is subtle but definitely there. Dream discussing the implications of talking to the Cat aspect and whether he was truly alone or not was a brilliant bit of subtle humour, despite the mind boggling nature of the concept. It was also nice to see a familiar face or two at the beginning of the issue.
Sandman’s strongest feature has ironically always been its biggest weakness for me as a reader. Like all of Gaiman’s work, I feel that it can be over loading a times. By this I mean that I always feel like I need to do some research after reading one of his stories. Also when Combined with the a non standard page layout that Williams enjoys, it’s easy to get lost. However with all that said, this book is really enjoyable and I never. felt like I was too lost, just that I wasn’t getting all I could out of the story.
How Neil Gaiman’s head hasn’t burst open from the bizarre ideas that gestate there, I will never know. If you like imaginative, dark and compelling stories then I can’t recommend this book enough. Gaiman suitably balances tension and humour in a masterful way, all why laying the foundation for a great mystery. Not only has that but he even managed to throw in a great cliff hanger at the end. All this complimented by J.H William’s work and you have the beginnings of a modern masterpiece.