Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Happy Halloween, everyone! What better way to celebrate—aside from dressing up and getting candy, anyways— than to read Sandman Overture #1!
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: J.H. Williams III
The moment many of us have been waiting for is finally here. The Sandman is back in this neat new prequel by Neil Gaiman! Before I begin, I would like to disclose I’ve only read volumes 1 and 2 of the original Sandman. No worries, the rest is on my To-Read list. With that said, I’m looking at this prequel with a relatively blank slate.
Reminiscent of the first time I read “Preludes and Nocturnes”, I finished reading Sandman Overture #1 somewhat confused. This could be due to the fact that I didn’t pick up the crumbs from the original series, or Gaiman had aimed to confuse in order to build an ominous and mysterious ambiance that positively overwhelms its readers. I like to think it’s the latter: making something old, with twists and turns to make it new.
Much of the confusion lies in the switching of scenes, characters, and narration. First we our brought to a small planet where we focus in on the dream of a carnivorous plant. This plant hears in its dream the screams of one who has just died. Next we’re taken to 1915 London to witness the nightmarish Corinthian suspiciously reeling in his prey to consume. Even if you didn’t know who Corinthian was, Gaiman’s flawless writing and William’s art gets the point across that Corinthian is not one to be trusted. The scene then changes to that of two Endless siblings conversing about an ambiguous death and how this will affect their brother Dream, aka the Sandman. Finally, we meet Dream and a few other familiar characters.
The constant changing of scenes and characters is mystifying and puzzling. I say this because regardless of being confused, I’m sure Gaiman is doing it with intent and all the seemingly disjointed storyline will eventually come together and make sense.
Gaiman’s writing is magnificently brilliant and he has a craft for narration. Even as the scenes change, his narration allows us to read the pages as if the comic itself were a faraway dream of our own, touching upon the tradition of folklore. I can hear the narrator echoing as I watch each scene unravel. It’s quite an amazing effect upon the reader looking in from the outside.
While the content of Sandman Overture #1is decent for starters, the art is detailed and hauntingly breathtaking. It’s incredible how Williams can change up his illustrations from one scene to the next to depict different worlds and eras. I also haven’t said this in awhile, but I have a big thing about how eyes are portrayed as it can tell us so much about the inner workings of a character. William does wonders with eyes, or lack thereof (ha!) in this issue. And with great penciling, comes great colors by Dave Stewart. Just as Williams can change up his illustrations, so can Stewart vary his colorings to bring a multitude of scenes alive. From bright and exuberant, to dark and menacing, Stewart can do it all.
Sandman Overture #1 is off to a good start. There is a strange and powerful force amidst, which threatens to pull Dream to the center of it. We’ll have to wait until next time to see what it is!
4.0 out of 5.0
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.