Title: The Sandman.
Writer(s): Neil Gaiman.
Illustrator(s): Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, Steve Parkhouse, Shawn McManus, Bryan Talbot, Matt Wagner, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Craig Russell & Stan Woch.
Colourist(s): Daniel Vozzo, Steve Oliff & Zylonol.
Letterer(s): Todd Klein & John Costanza.
Format: Hardcover – Omnibus.
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
My Overall Rating:
The fear of the unknown has led humankind to try to give meaning to the unexplainable throughout history. While science has deciphered many of life’s greatest mysteries, religion remains a universal means for some to understand life and its myriad of gifts and misfortunes. As you venture in these mythical grounds looking to discover the greater schemes at play, you might also encounter supernatural entities who are wielders of terrifying powers, powers that might be at the heart of their own essence but will play a surreal and unforgivable role on all who live and breathe, whether it’s love, pleasure, pain, fear, or death. There is one being whose grasp might extend beyond humankind, leading gods, demons, muses, and mystical creatures to enter his realm: Dream. Established as one of the greatest series of graphic storytelling, legendary writer Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is an unparalleled foray into a hallucinatory landscape brimming with standout figures from all kinds of periods and realms.
What is The Sandman Omnibus (Vol. 1) about? This extraordinary hardcover omnibus collects the first 37 issues (first five volumes) of the groundbreaking masterwork, as well as Sandman Special #1, and follows Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming. After his 70-year imprisonment due to an occultist mistakenly capturing him instead of his older sister Death, he is now off to reacquaint himself with his otherworldly realm while hunting down ancient and lost relics possessing his power. His journey also leads him to discover that his universe of dreams and nightmares leaked into reality, forcing him to venture to the human plane to take matters into his own hands and make difficult decisions. As if matters could not get any worse, The Endless, formed of his immortal family, invite Dream to fix a wrong he once committed as he’s forced into an expedition to Hell where reigns the fallen angel Lucifer, with whom he has a shaky relationship. The intervention of Dream is, however, eternal and absolute, as the omnibus wraps up on a deadly tale that sends unlikely heroes into a mysterious dreamworld. There is simply no story in life where Morpheus does not play a quintessential role in its denouement.
“What power would Hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of Heaven?”— Neil Gaiman
Without an overarching story-arc tying together the many stories delivered in the first half of this franchise’s saga, it is the metaphysical nature of the narrative that carries the weight of this story to the end. By simultaneously exploring Morpheus’s personal and divine facets of his persona, writer Neil Gaiman allows readers to be immersed in a story where the celestial elements take over and where the emphasis is especially put on the mythological and philosophical accord. While at times you learn more on Dream’s raison d’être, exploring his very purpose among other entities, you’re also invited to tag along on his most challenging quests pertaining to his domain, weighing the faiths of all against their respective destinies. The variety of tales recounted in this omnibus allows the reader to grasp the complexity of dreams and their role on a personal, social, and historical level that only a creative mind like Neil Gaiman’s could ever fancy.
Despite the choppiness of the narrative, especially when the omnibus gets to the story-arcs collecting short stories, there’s an attractive and mesmerizing quality to writer Neil Gaiman’s incredible world-building that keeps you around. The characters he progressively introduces to this world all come with a shining and unforgettable personality that will also leave you craving for more of their presence. From Death to Lucifer, this omnibus sees to the birth of icons that will always leave a lasting impression on the reader. The artwork, unfortunately, will require the reader to let it grow on them. It is rough, it focuses on characters, and unleashes the illustrators on a creative frenzy that ultimately gives readers a psychedelic reading experience. Nonetheless, the artistic vision of this series is incredibly cohesive and consistent, making it easy for readers to be immersed in this universe.
The Sandman Omnibus (Vol. 1) is a foundational tour de force demonstrating the art of creation through the exploration of mythology and storytelling.