Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Sandman Overture #1

   At the comics shop this week a guy who had apparently never read The Sandman before asked the shop owner if this series was a good place to start.

   The shop owner said, since it was a prequel to the first story, it was probably a great starting point.

   I'm dubious.

   The story by Neil Gaiman jumps right into the deep end of the pool, as we run into characters both strange and familiar (to long-time readers), including Dream (who rarely goes by the name Sandman).

   But given the fact that the story jumps around to different characters (including Death and Destiny), different realities (the one at the start is trippy) and across the timeline, it's a bit much to absorb in one sitting.

   To readers familiar with the character, it's pretty easy to pick up where you left off so many years ago. But new readers might struggle a bit to sort things out - especially when you get to that mind-bending four-page spread at the end.

   None of this is intended as anything more than a caveat to new readers. Those of you who have read the comics (or collections) know what to expect - wonderful, lush artwork from J.H. Williams III, a deep and affecting story from Gaiman, challenging and unexpected story events, and a very welcome and long-overdue return to a beloved series.

   New readers should track down the reprint volumes, anyway - they're some of the best stories in the history of comics. This series is well on its way to earning an equal spot with the rest of the series.

Grade: A



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