Sandman Universe #1
No recap, per se. If you read Sandman or the Dreaming back in the day, you’ll recognize most of the characters in this story. If you didn’t, you’ll get plenty of introduction, since that’s what this book’s intended purpose is. A perfect place to jump into a rich universe!
Lucien, Librarian of the Dreaming, gives the readers the grand tour of the castle catalogs. Except there seems to be a problem with the stacks. As other denizens of the realm arrive, it turns out that something is REALLY wrong, and the lord of the realm, Daniel (the new Dream for those of you that didn’t follow Sandman or don’t remember). Matthew the Raven is enlisted to seek out Daniel in hopes that he can put everything right again. Like all good quests, this one takes Matthew to new places and far-off lands. His first task is to leave the Dreaming, which he must do through unconventional means. We get a bit of a tour of more of the Dreaming and meet a few other people.
As Matthew emerges in the waking world of London, England. There we meet Tim Hunter, who is very late for school. Arriving after a mad dash, Tim finds himself without his books and with a new teacher. A teacher with blank books and a secretive smile. She knows Tim is a magician and seems to be there for a purpose, but for good or ill we will have to wait and see as Matthew continues on his journey.
The raven is suddenly whisked to New Orleans, where he happens upon a family on a walk along the river. This family has managed to catch the attention of powerful spirits by way of powerful charms in their possession. As the two vie for a chance at the girls, we learn a little bit about the deities and the woes that might befall their playthings. Matthew must on, though, to continue his search.
Matthew travels to where Lucifer was last known to be and finds a wrecked bar and a lot of dead ravens. Lucifer has devised a way to defy his Father and destroy his planes. What’s more, the fallen angel is determined not to follow in his Father’s footsteps. His journey, Matthew learns, has led Lucifer into a trap, but Matthew has no time to waste on other problems. He helps another raven on the path to find Lucifer before being called away yet again.
Near the end of his quest and so close to Daniel, Matthew suddenly returns home, as if waking from a dream. When he arrives he learns he was sent home, and that the Dreaming is without a king and in growing peril. What does this mean for the realm?
This book serves as a return to the House that Neil Built – The Dreaming. It is both story and introduction into all-new titles. The book is large and worthy of its extra price tag with 40 some-odd pages, lots of variant covers and flyers for upcoming books.
Each of Matthew’s journeys, which I very briefly summarized above serves as an introduction to new titles. We are given the premise of (in order) Books of Magic, House of Whispers, Lucifer, and the Dreaming. Each one is beautifully written and illustrated. Often when a book like this is written and drawn by so many people in a single issue, the work can be jarring as it transitions from one to the next. This issue is written seamlessly and reads very well. Even if you don’t pick up any of the other titles, this single issue is worth getting on its own as a great story.
Final Thoughts: Each of the four books stemming from this one look well-worth picking up. I spent my formative years in the Dreaming, and this issue felt very much like a return home but at the same time a brand-new journey. Whether you are a returning fan or a brand new reader, this issue heralds a brave new world ready for exploration. Enjoy!
Sandman Universe #1: Preludes and Nocturnes, Redux?
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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