There is so much that I want to say about this book, that it’s hard for me to know where to begin: should I begin with a rant, with my background with Sandman, with my overall impression of the book, with the writing, the art . . .? Ok, how about I take it just the way I listed it, so let’s begin with a rant.

Three page flips into the comic I’m faced with not one page, but two pages of ads: the double-page spread ad right off the bat. Something about the look of these ads as well as the placement was disconcerting for me. Four more page flips and guess what? You got it, more double-page ads, UGH. Four more page flips . . . same damn thing. Two page flips later . . . again. By now, I’m just pissed off. And I think for good reason. Come on people, that’s eight ads (for seven products, one was a double page spread for the same product). Is that excessive? YES. Compared to another new title I picked up this week, which only had 5 ads and all only single pages, these eight pages seem a bit overkill. Not to mention the fact that the use of double page spreads really interrupted the flow of the comic for me in a major way.

Ok, with this rant aside, let’s focus on more important things, like my background with The Sandman. Put simply, I have none. Not that I’ve not ALWAYS wanted to read it, but I learned of the comic after it was a done deal. I have the first TPB, but I’ve not found time to dive into it yet, and I have a feeling that once I get started, I’m not gonna wanna stop, so I’ll get there, but not yet.

Since I have NO background with the main character, I hesitated for a millisecond before picking the comic up to buy. I mean, how bad could it be, right? Honestly, I don’t know how to even answer that question. This is one “sick” comic, and I am hooked. I’m confident that if I knew The Sandman universe, I would have a different (not necessarily better or worse) take on the comic with this first read, but regardless of my ignorance, it’s a great comic.

For me, what makes it great is the complexity both in the writing and the art work. Let’s begin with the writing, a place I feel most confident. Neil Gaiman (W) weaves a tale on par with the greatest story tellers of any time. Will you know exactly what’s going on after one read through? Probably not, but this is a first issue and there is a LOT to set up. I’m sure that those people who were forced to read the works of Charles Dickens in serialized form often felt at a loss in the first installment or two as well. But to tell a great story, it takes time and twenty-eight pages is not enough.

Gaiman begins on a planet, “a small planet”, and the plant life on this planet seem to be the ones that think on a higher plane, far above the humanoids found there. The dreams begin with Quorian, one of the huge, carnivorous plants. Then Gaiman transports the reader to 1915 London where we meet Corinthian, one of the Sandman’s creations. From there, Gaiman continues to spin characters and back story together to lead us into this universe he is creating, and which I have a feeling readers of the original Sandman are already somewhat (if not completely) familiar with. To avoid spoilers, I’ll stop before I give a way a major plot point, but if you are in the least bit curious, pick up the book and let me know what you think.

Now, as for the art work, J. H. Williams III (A) has, as expected, outdone himself, and the color of Dave Stewart and the lettering by Todd Klein all contribute to make this creation what it is . . . beautiful. Too often I am guilty of not tackling the art work, so I have been trying of late to talk about it in a meaningful way. To give you an idea of the complexity, take a look at this double-page splash below.

Sandman_Overture_1_img

When I first read through this spread, I paid little head to anything but the writing and the art work in the small individual panels. As I read across the pages, though, I began to realize that there was something unique about these panels and that they were doing something much, much bigger. I literally held the book at arm’s length and then just stared . . . WOW. There is so much of this kind of thing going on in this text. It’s not limited to the art work either. Stewart’s color work attributes to the mood set by the comic. Also, notice Klein’s lettering throughout the book. It’s not all standard uppercase comic book lettering. Instead, he uses a combination of styles. For me, this enables me to “hear” the speaker in a different way. The Sandman speaks in standard upper/lower case, and because of this, and variation in balloons, I hear him speaking softly, almost imperceptibly: until, of course, he yells, then I hear him loud and clear and all caps takes on meaning again.

All of these things combined–the writing, the art, the color, the lettering–makes this book a new pull-list comic for me. I also can’t wait to begin reading the original Sandman, and I know I’ll find hours of pleasure in immersing myself in the world of Neil Gaiman.

Overall Score
95 %

Even with no prior knowledge of Gaiman's Sandman, this book draws me in and hooks me from the first page. Gaiman is a master story teller, and Williams III, Stewart, and Klein's imagery work are without rival.

Ads 50%
Story Telling 100%
Art 100%
Color 100%
Lettering 100%

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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