The Dreaming #1
The issue starts with a confused narration by Lucien, Librarian of the Dreaming, as he tries to hold himself and the realm together. Invasions on many fronts threaten the borders of the Dreaming as the implications of Daniel's absence become more and more dire. The story focuses mostly on the mystery that is Dora, though we also get a tour of the Dreaming and another realm or two in the process. We get a glimpse of the chaos that Dora might bring and a stronger sense of her uniqueness distinguished even in a place full of unique things. Desperate attempts to protect the borders of the Dreaming and larger implications for the Endless themselves loom as the story continues next issue.
The story picks up from Sandman Universe #1. The writing is enjoyable and well-done and any fan of the Sandman of old will feel pretty at home at once. We see a lot more of Dora, figuratively and literally, and I keep thinking I’ve seen her before. I think she’s reminding me strongly of Molly, for those that remember Tim Hunter’s friend from Books of Magic, which is resulting in a bit of a Mandela effect. I wonder if that’s just me.
Lucien is playing an increasingly important role, and he’s shaping up to possibly be the caretaker of the series as well as the library, at least for this arc. This is good for librarians everywhere I think, they just don’t get enough spotlight in books these days, even the ones that used to be ravens. The art is enjoyable, it has a nice fantastic feel combined with a primality that grounds it in the right places. I particularly enjoyed Evely’s creative use of panel borders in strategic places and the excellent use of color that Lopes uses in each scene. There are a lot of breadcrumbs being dropped as we see the implications of the major plotline of whether Daniel will return or if someone else will claim the dreaming, setting up for any number of developments in the future. It’s overall a beautiful product.
I worry though, about the book setting itself up like it has. As I said readers of old will find many familiar characters, but new readers starting with Sandman Universe #1 will have a steep learning curve. And brand-new readers picking up this book fresh might be lost altogether. There is a nostalgic feel as the book picks up some 20 years or so later, but in doing that the book is almost begging for longtime readers to draw comparisons to the previous series. One of the worst things I’ve found a book can do is try to recreate something that arose organically. This book has an excellent story and visual team, and they are weaving a number of interesting developments. I’m really hoping the book finds its own feel soon and doesn’t continue to (seemingly) rely on the readers to fill in gaps.
Overall a well-written and drawn issue with a slight drawback in its accessibility to new readers. The Dreaming is off to a great start and with a little love to newcomers, it has the potential to embrace a whole new crowd of fans.
The Dreaming #1: A Hop, Skip and a Dimensional Jump
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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