Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III
A secret society led by a powerful occultist attempts to capture Death in order to gain eternal life, but their ritual goes awry, and they capture Dream (also known as Morpheus), Death's young brother. Fearing retribution, the group decides to keep Morpheus imprisoned, and hands down the stewardship to successive generations. Seventy-some years later, a mishap allows Morpheus to escape, and he gathers the tools of his office, and the key to his power, that were separated upon his capture before he is able to exact his revenge on the progeny of his jailers.
The Sandman is one of those essential comic series that everyone tells you to buy, like The Watchmen, but the complexity of the storyline makes it difficult to pin down the reason why other than, "just do it." I will make a paltry attempt within my reviews of this series.
Sandman was part of the turning point in comicbook publication, signaling that comics weren't just for kids anymore. The subject matter is mature and dark, and belies the name "comic" entirely because there is not an ounce of humor. Volume one sets up the character of Morpheus and immediately pulls the reader into his plight. While Morpheus is an ominous main character, the work he has to put in to get back what belongs to him garners sympathy. This volume also includes characters from other DC properties: John Constantine, and another of Gaiman's creations: Lucifer. Illustrations of the people are a little rough but it matches the horror of the demons and dream creations. The coloring employs a darker color palette, a heavy emphasis on black spaces, with splashes of bright colors frequently to draw the eyes through the story.
There is a lot of violence and some gore, hinted nudity, sexual situations. Along with these issues, Sandman is an older style comicbook with a slower pace than what modern readers are used to, so hand this to mature readers who are ready to dive head-first into the series.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Demons, Horror, Superheroes
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