Review: The Dreaming #8

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artist: Abigail Larson

Colours: Quinton Winter

Letters: Simon Bowland

 

Summary

His skin, marked by malignant magics. His spirit, eclipsed. His mind, crushed.

Even the Lord of Dreams is powerless against the storm of lost love. When an Endless heart breaks, the world breaks with it…

 

Positives

One thing I like about this series is how much attention that is taken to make sure it meshes well with the original Sandman series. For example, Dream explains why, in his quest to experience love, one of the reasons he approached Rose Walker is because “it is every child’s fantasy to romance the babysitter.” Rose doesn’t understand the reference, but when I read this, it caused me to recall that Rose had babysit baby Daniel for his mother Lyta Hall before Daniel replaced Morpheus as Dream of the Endless.

There is also the repeated motif of feathers being associated with Lucien in this issue. Lucien revealed to Matthew long ago that before he had been the Dreaming’s librarian, that he had been one of Morpheus’ ravens.

But why are raven feathers left behind when Lucien is taken? Are these Lucien’s feathers, or does whatever has taken him have something to do with his past as a raven?

I also find myself wondering about what’s going on with the nurse Nikki. She reveals to Rose that she has gills and mentions that her hair is always wet. She apparently is some kind of merwoman or similar creature. But why is she working in a hospital. Given how characters move in and out of the story in the original Sandman books, I expect that she will turn up again in some future storyline. I hope so anyway, as she strikes me as an interesting enigma.

I also like how Spurrier reminds us of the terrible power that Dream holds despite his usually mild demeanour. Not only in the way that reality warps to match his pain and emotional anguish, but in the punishment he deals out to the cult that struck out at him and Rose Walker’s daughter Ivy. I found it a particular effective device to not show Dream actually punishing them, but rather show us the devastation left behind afterwards.

 

Negatives

There’s little to complain about with this story, other than I wish that the series actually was the continuation of the original Sandman series that the current story feels like.

 

Verdict

Either Neil Gaiman is taking an active role in the plotting of this series or Spurrier is doing a masterful job of channelling him. Also, Abigail Larson’s artistic style fits in beautifully with the variety of talents that worked on Gaiman’s Sandman. That series is one of the all time classic comic books, so recapturing some of that magic is a truly special accomplishment.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.