(Author: Neil Gaiman) + (Year: 1989) + (Goodreads)
Sandman could have gone very badly for me. I have been hearing about this, and even having been tempted to read it, before I got into comic books at all. Therefore, as you can guess, the hype was big and mighty, and therefore, so were the expectations.
Well, Sandman didn’t disappoint me. That is not to say that this isn’t a very dark and moody book, but it’s a very interesting spin on religion, deities, mythology and the power of those on the human life.
However, what needs to be mentioned, lest you are becoming less convinced to read the book based on my description, is that possibly the darkest and most conflicted character in Sandman, Dream, is also the one who unrelentingly believes in… hope.
For me, that is a very contrasting depiction of dream. I would normally say that dreams are positive and good, and at the same time, Dream, Morpheus, seems like a dark and brooding creature with little optimism and positivism. And yet, he is a hero after all. He takes care of the dreamers, lets no harm be done to them and fights more terrifying evils in their name.
The Sandman‘s quest in this first volume is aimed at rebuilding his kingdom after a century in captivity. During that time horrors have reigned upon earth and have been unleashed from the dream realm. It is Dream’s duty to collect them and restore the balance.
My favourite issue/chapter was that of Doctor Destiny. It seemed so out of place in such a novel, and despite that, it fit perfectly. Here I should mention that I was completely unprepared and totally surprised to see famous DC characters, such as the Justice League, John Constantine, and the Scarecrow (and, of course, mentioning Batman was inevitable). It seemed like a collision of worlds that I never expected to meet. But it somehow worked out. And the villain, Dr Dee, completely fit the description of dark and disturbing DC villains. While I thought that his form of violence, and especially his reasons for it, were not fully explained, and therefore, didn’t make total sense, at the same time, I just loved the wave of mass insanity and how Morpheus dealt with that.
Problems: I’m still not sold on the hardcore 80’s art. It’s funny where it should be normal and dramatic.