SANDMAN OVERTURE 2
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: JH Williams III
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
All right, let’s shoot the white melting elephant in the corner first: this book was hella delayed. I’m sure the industry line will be it was on a quarterly schedule, but sorry that doesn’t satiate the ADD world of comics. If it’s a floppy…it better drop monthly.
However, if the glorious Escher intricacy doesn’t beg enough forgiveness, I think the Eisner style home Williams crafted on the first splash page will quell a bit of your fanman ire. If those two things don’t work, you don’t know how difficult art is to create, especially well thought out and paced art with a million Easter eggs of intricacy hidden throughout the book’s panel. NO ONE is dialing this in. If it takes 3 months for this uber quality, I’ll reset my expectations.
Now, for the story. First a mea culpa to Gaiman and all of you true Sandfanatics out there. The gathering of Sandmen from across the universe is merely metaphorical so wee humans can ride with this mystical being. From Sandfauan, to Sandrobot to Sandcat, they are all the same Sandman, just in a multitude of forms. Is he talking to himself then? You betcha, sorta…but one would expect the embodiment of dreams to be a few standard deviations off center. So, all of you who caught this continuity gaffe, deserve the wettest of dreams for keeping the faith.
Basically this issue drives forward the great mystery of how a facet of dream could be negated from existence. The answer as in any ecosystem is of course a higher power. After some dandying about again in the way back past, in a lovely interlude with a homeless woman who remembers when dream was entrapped so many years ago in SANDMAN 1, we go back to the void in space where the Sandmen…man gathered last issue.
Only this time there is an alpha among them and it’s not our Sandman. Well, it is our Sandman, but the earliest incarnation, the one that guided the dreams of Gods. Next metaphysical jump and we are presented with the embodiment of Glory (and please help me here fans if I miss details or past references as I am still making my way through the first series). This very British version of Teddy Roosevelt tells of a star that has gone mad and shaken the foundations of reality out of their ever watching complacency.
Next jump, Sandman is off to meet God. Well, his Father, who I assume is God. Again, if someone knows better, please share your knowledge with the group. Or, better yet, don’t. New readers as well as those of us who have dabbled with the sincerest intent to one day go deeper, will enjoy the unveiling of abstracts come to form by Gaiman’s pragmatic insanity. The man is still able to surprise while at the same time inducing smack yourself on forehead for missing the most obvious embodiments of everything. Of course Glory would be a British stuffed shirt. Yeah, Death would these days be goth versus monk.
Gorgeous art and an amazing universe to return to (or step into for the first time). Yes, delays are troubling, but in a time when all books are destined or trade no one will remember drop dates, but everyone will remember a story so elevated Williams had to create new panel schemes simply to make SANDMAN OVERTURE palatable for our myopic views of the universe.