Finally, a Neil Gaiman’s! Been wanting to read one of his books, but never got a chance to, then I read his graphic novel. Fine, I’m happy enough for now. I was lucky and got this from the library. For some (obvious?) reason, the first volume of every series is always the hardest to find.
I can’t say it’s been a breeze for me. I struggled for the first couple of chapters. I felt that the story jumped from one to another and frankly, I just didn’t get it. It was all just a bit… messy. But towards the end, it got better. Later I found out that I was not familiar with some of the characters as they’re taken from other comics, like John Constantine, Scott Free, and Doctor Destiny. Browsed Wiki quickly to get some ideas of these characters. I guess it shouldn’t be such a big deal. You could still understand the stories without knowing their background (or can’t you?), but it just felt weird when some people just came out of nowhere and I felt like I was supposed to know them but wasn’t. Like you’re the only stranger in a party full of people that know each other.
Anyway, I got over that. Moving on. In this first volume, we got to know the Sandman, the King of Dream, Morpheus (they’re all the same person). He got captured for 70 years by some humans (how did they do it?), before finally escaping, back to his abandoned kingdom with none of his 3 tools with him. So a few chapters show how he tries to retrieve back his stolen possessions. In the final chapter, we meet Death, the Dream’s sister. The most glorified character in graphic novel from the few reviews I read. Not to spoil it for you, I’d just say she’s interesting, NOT the typical personification of Death with skeletal figure carrying a large scythe wearing black hooded cloak. But I think I’d have to read more of the Sandman series to fully appreciate her.
The chapter that gave me the creeps the most was “24 Hours”. That was just plain disturbing. It’s about how Dr Destiny waited for Dream at a cafe, and during the 24 hours he was waiting, he was psychologically (which also leads to physically) torturing the people. The last chapter “The Sound of Her Wings”, in which Dream meets Death, is indeed the best one of all. Or is it just because the art is so clean for that part? The one where he goes to Hell is pretty cool too.
“What power would HELL have if those here imprisoned were NOT able to DREAM of HEAVEN?” ~ Dream, p128
I really want to continue to the next volumes, as people say they get more interesting in the later volumes. Neil Gaiman himself has said that he felt that he just only found his own voice in the last chapter of Preludes & Nocturnes onwards. So hopefully I can get my hands on the second volume soon.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Publication year: 1988-1989