Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #2
Wesley Dodds is the first of several DC characters to bear the superhero name Sandman. Wesley Dodds tried and failed to sell his patented sleeping gas to the U.S military to save lives. As Sandman he fights crime to save lives but couldn't save his family home from a dubious fire.
The story begins the morning after the first issue where the Dodds family home is on fire. The book opens with a splash page of the charred husk of the Dodds mansion. Wesley is shifting through the ashes of his house with the chief of the fire department thanks to a favor from Dian’s father District Attorney Belmont. The Fire Chief comes to the quick conclusion that it was a robbery gone wrong but Wesley knows better.
Now alone Dodds goes to the secret bookcase entrance to his hidden lab only to find his journal of deadly gases, mask, and gas gun are missing. Butler extraordinaire Humphries comforts and gets Wesley to focus on the immediate problem of finding a safe place to stay. Wesley finds himself welcomed at his late father’s business associate Mr. Vanderlyle residents, who seems a little too benevolent and accommodating, when Dian barges into the penthouse worried sick about her main squeeze. Dian finally manages to get Wesley to relax to the point of sleep, only for him to be confronted by prophetic nightmares of a future war where his life’s work is used to disfigure and kill soldiers. Our hero awakes to a list of possible suspects left by Dian. With his only lead in hand, Sandman sneaks into the police headquarters to narrow down said list and make an escape via a third-story window ledge. Some quick detective work in a photography darkroom gives him one name Igor Kluge. Back out on the streets at night, Sandman tracks down Kluge’s known associates in mid-robbery and puts them down with his fists and a whole lot of gas. Sandman realizes too late that this scuffle has turned into a painful brawl because the criminals pregame with amphetamines. But given the right dosage, the gas always does the trick. The fight ends with a stray criminal in fright-induced panic running into the streets to be hit by a car and Sandman learning Kluge cut ties with his crew.
However, the story ends a page later with the would-be mastermind in his own dark version of the Sandman regalia. Venditti keeps the story moving pretty much from where it left off in issue one. Which bold well for readers. Venditti’s consistency carries over to his depiction of Wesley Dodds. In one of the worst moments of any person’s life, the day their home burns down, Dodds’s empathy still holds true as he thinks of the supposed arson being carted off in a body bag. Even Dodds’s friends and loved ones coming to his aid showcase the humanity of this book. The detective elements introduced in this issue were much needed and appreciated, especially for a classic pulp character like Sandman. Venditti’s use of 1940’s slang with words like “Yeeg” and “gangbusters” signifies he clearly understood the assignment. The pencils match the talent and consistency of the writing at every moment. Rossmo’s clean and often exaggerated lines not only depict the movement of each moment wonderfully but cement his signature style as versatile. Rossmo seems to enjoy going to town with as much smoke and smog as he can put on a page when it’s time for Sandman to fight crime and I’m definitely here for that. The grotesque scene of soldiers’ faces melting off and dying in Wesley’s prophetic nightmare of a war yet to be, adds a nice dose of intensity to an otherwise calm patch in the story. The art captures the excitement, adventure, and fun of heroing in the golden age of comics. The mood of the story is always palpable throughout this issue all thanks to Plascencia. The almost blood-red color of the darkroom scene appears almost haunting. Rounding up the talent on this issue is Napolitano whose lettering has such a light touch that there is no other word to describe his work but smooth.
Issue two has almost as much bite as the first while further setting up a larger story. A fantastic read with sumptuous pencils that are plated perfectly by the colors and lettering, serving readers a satisfying feast.
ICYMI! Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #2: Burnt and Bewildered
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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