Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Writers: Neil Gaiman, Simon Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, Dan Watters,
Artwork: Bilquis Evely, Dominik “Domo” Stanton, Tom Fowler, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, Mat Lopes
Release Date: 8th August 2018
The bar was certainly set rather high for Sandman following its last outing over 20 years ago. I shaln’t spoil it for you because if you haven’t read the original novels, (and for that matter the amazing Lucifer) you should definitely make sure you do so before reading THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE. That said, this latest release certainly makes sense on its own, but I definitely feel that you won’t appreciate it half as much if you aren’t already familiar with the complexities of Morpheus and his family.
From the very first page I had that marvellous feeling I rarely get when reading a comic. It felt like meeting an old friend. I was right back in the world I’d left years ago when I finished the last issue of Sandman. A place that really lives up to the moniker of universe; an infinitely diverse realm of every possible creation watched over by the siblings of the Endless. The embodiments of death, dreams, destiny, destruction, despair, desire and delirium simultaneously alien and human in their own acts. Much like American Gods, albeit in a different way, the appeal of Sandman is that it humanises the gods in their own actions and desires across creation.
THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE continues this theme impressively. Daniel the Dream Lord has disappeared, leaving the dream realm to descend into destruction. We see the search for Dream through the eyes of Matthew the Raven as he traverses through the worlds in search of his master, quickly learning that there’s more to this than Dream’s brief vacation from his duties. Yet again these eternal creatures deal with the same emotions we do every day, amplified by the fact that they have an eternity to process them. We don’t like being lied to, we rebel against our parents in sometimes extreme ways, we can’t always contain parts of our personality, and sometimes, when the pressure of obligation falls on us all we want to do is run away. Gaiman continues to create storylines that make these omnipotent gods into relatable characters.
This was an utterly brilliant read. There’s something uniquely rewarding about seeing the characters I loved return, not to mention discovering that they’re still up to their old tricks and silliness, beautifully restored in both written and artistic form. This issue acts as a great springboard for the DC Vertigo return, not just by catching up with the Sandman cast but by giving them context and setting forth events that will play into Lucifer and the other returns.
The here appeal is similar to the reason I loved Solo or Rogue One – it provides another journey within a world so vast and full of intrigue. You almost feel like a guest when you read this. Like a cowboy in a frontier full of hundreds of other outlaws and epic stories going on at the same time as yours. It’s clear why there is such a huge team of writers and artists behind this issue, as so much thought and effort has been put into this reunion between the fans and their beloved characters. And I’m happy to report that it has paid off perfectly.
Ignoring the brief returns in DC canon over the years, (Lucifer and DC Metal among many others) this is the real return of the Sandman, and I for one couldn’t be happier.
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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