Vol 2: The Doll's House, illustrated by Steve Parkhouse, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III
Morpheus continues his quest to set the world right after his realm wreaked havoc during his imprisonment. At the heart of many cruel nightmare creatures is Rose Walker. She is desperately trying to find her little brother, who was taken by her father after her parents separated. Rose's grandmother, Unity, was supposed to be a Dream Vortex, a being who becomes the center of The Dreaming, but she fell into a sleeping sickness around the time Dream was imprisoned, and never became the vortex. This has caused considerable damage to the dreams of humans world-wide, and allowed a lot of Dream's nightmares to escape into the waking world. The vortex trait was passed down through Unity's family to Rose. In her search for her brother, Rose rents a room in a house close to where her brother Jed was living last, and enlists the help of a strange man named Gilbert to help find him. Together, they are able to track down Jed to an abusive aunt and uncle's home. Gilbert and Rose check in to a hotel on the way to rescue Jed, but unbeknownst to them, the hotel is hosting a convention of Serial Killers, and the honored guest is another one of Dream's escaped creations.
While Preludes and Nocturnes had a serious tone to it, this volume really establishes The Sandman as a mature, dark narrative. There is abuse, rape, and murder, but there is also this extremely imaginative world of the Dreaming and how it intertwines with the waking world. Jed's storyline with his escapism dreams are beautiful and simultaneously heartbreaking. Rose is strong and determined. Often, the reader knows more than she does but still roots for her to win and be reunited with her little brother. The escaped creations are literally stuff of nightmares, so any horror they elicit means Gaiman is doing his job. While I thoroughly enjoyed the world set up in this issue, there were times were I was confused by the narrative jumps. I feel there was an over-reliance on the illustrations to fill in the gaps at times, so adding a bit more text or me being a better visual reader could really solve those issues.
DC's rating for this series is Mature. Along with the things mentioned above, there is nudity, adult situations, and some gore. This is definitely a story for your upper-grade readers who can handle a serious and mature story.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Demons, Horror, Superheroes
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