My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For me this is a reread. I bought Sandman the moment it hit the shelves. I believe I own every one. I even know exactly where to lay my hands on my own copies, but hey, why get finger oil all over those when I can get this softbound version from the library? If you do not know Neil Gaiman’s wonderful comic book, (or if you want to revisit it like I did) this is the place to start. This is where it all starts. This volume contains the first several comic books, taking us through the first story arc.
In the midst of WWI, Burgess, self-described ‘Daemon King,’ tries to capture Death. Instead, he captures something else. He captures Morpheus, King of Dreams. The first two books span some seventy years, dropping us in on several side characters as they end up in endless sleep or endless waking because the balance of the universe has been interrupted. Neither Burgess or his son can make Dream talk to them; neither get what they want and finally a mistake is made.
Once freed, Morpheus is confronted with a hard reality, he’s been gone too long. His palace, his entire kingdom, has seventy years of abandonment under its belt. Most of the most vicious of nightmares have escaped and his castle is in ruins. Worse, Morpheus is weak. He needs to reclaim three items that are embed with his soul. They will him strength: his helmet, his pouch of sand and his ruby but these things are long gone.
The next several books detail him retrieving those items and we meet several DC characters along the way, Cain and Abel, John Constantine, Scott Free, Etrigan, The Scarecrow, Doctor Destiny, J’onn the last of the Martians. After reading the prologues that come with this, I see why these were all needed (in other words, there wasn’t that much faith in someone completely new to fiction writing and to comic books) but they are woven in deftly.
It culminates with Dream feeling empty. He’s had his revenge, so now what? This is when his big sister, Death, steps in. She remains, to this day, one of the most interesting incarnations of Death I’ve ever read. She’s compelling and some twenty years later still captures the imagination (I noticed that they’ve made a new action figure for her). Death was so popular in her one shot that she gets a couple mini-series down the road. She is my favorite of Dream’s siblings.
Revisiting this world took me back to the late 80’s and early 90’s. I was young woman again and filled with awe of the storytelling. I loved Dream then. I love him to this day. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dig out my Dream collector’s cards and dream a little dream of him.
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