Review – The Dreaming #9 (DC Vertigo)

Publisher: DC Vertigo
Writers: Simon Spurrier
Artwork: Bilquis Evely
Colours: Mat Lopes
Letters: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 1st May 2019

The latest issue of DC Vertigo’s The Dreaming is packed with returns.  We return to the Realm of Dreaming and say a fond hello to not only our usual cast of characters, but to the beautiful artwork of Bilquis Evely. That’s not to say our time with the Dreamlord Daniel hasn’t been amazing in its own right, but the ongoing story left us hanging with the emergence of a new, and obviously quite insane Dreamlord temporarily filling in for the absent Daniel.

Told from the perspective of Mathew The Raven as he shares the events with another familiar face from Sandman past, we see how the new Dreamlord proxy has sent him (and the enigma that is Dora) in search of Daniel.  A journey that takes them to the Sidhe Summer Court of Fairies, tracing the path of their seemingly damaged master. And while his wit isn’t as damaged as first thought, the rabbit hole will take them even further down, to more dangerous depths than they could have ever imagined.

This issue perfectly demonstrates the many different factors that make this – and the other Sandman Universe releases – a modern masterpiece. The spider-web of intricate plots in each series overlap in ways that compliment each other beautifully. Having just finished a review of the latest issue of The Books of Magic last week, where they were at the feet of the queen Titiana, we now get an almost preview this week when another group of characters deal with her dark tricks. Don’t get me wrong, comics have guilty of this approach time and time again to try and force readers to buy more comics but, it never feels that way with Vertigo. These links are always an integral part of the plot and serve to tantalise the reader by showing them just how huge this overarching story is.

Simon Spurrier doesn’t merely reference mythology here, he takes the lore and makes it a central component of the plot. The ideas of favours and honesty in fairy lore isn’t just given a passing mention, it’s the driving force behind the events and Daniel’s passing through the realm. Even something as important in magical law as a name is played out here in a real masterful stroke, creating tension in the plot and progressing the ever-growing questions that have persisted throughout.  Who is Dora? What has happened to Daniel? Who is behind this all?

Once again the art is absolutely gorgeous here. Evely creates instantly memorable characters and scenes that are immediately recognisable as her work. The sheer amount of detail in each pen stroke is breathtaking, from the snarled gobble of Dora as she eats some food to the delicate flowers that border the panels.  All these factors help to add a wonderful sense of magic to the page, a feeling which is only enhanced by the vibrant colours of  Mat Lopes and the character-specific fonts of Simon Bowland, (a small touch perhaps, but something that has really added to the Vertigo Universe right from the beginnings of Lucifer and Morpheus by adding just a hint more characterisation.)

The journey goes deeper here in yet another magnificent issue, and just like The Dreaming itself it seems there’s no limits to the imagination of Spurrier and his team of creators.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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