Review: THE DREAMING: WAKING HOURS #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Colours: Matheus Lopes
Letters: Simon Bowland
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #9: Seduced by the sensual wiles of the realm of Faerie, Ruin and Heather After have not only been separated from the angel Jophiel, they’ve completely forgotten why they even set foot in this delightful place. But Faerie’s charms (literally) are lost on Jophiel, and he remains firmly on a mission…unfortunately for him, the king of Faerie has his own ideas on just what Jophiel’s power can do for him!
At the beginning of The Dreaming: Waking Hours #9, a trio of Faerie have ensnared Ruin and Heather After in their seductive control. Meanwhile, the abandoned Jophiel finds himself rescued by the deposed Faerie king, Auberon.
We get to see a flashback which fills in some of Heather’s backstory. We see her as a young girl (or maybe boy, as it’s unclear whether she had started identifying as female yet). We see her tell her great-grandmother, “I don’t wanna be like great-grandpa Roderick. Or like you. All you want to do is hurt people. I wanna be a good wizard. Like Gandalf. Or, if I can’t be good, I at least wanna be cool”. She certainly does have a lot in common with her cousin, John Constantine.
Speaking of John, I wonder if John is also related to the Burgesses and Cripps families, or if John is related to Heather on her mother’s side. If not, the Constantines make three magical bloodlines Heather is related to. With this ancestry, Heather might have the potential to be an extremely powerful magician.
We also learn that Jophiel and Auberon have met before, just after the Harrowing of Hell. According to Christian tradition, this refers to the time Jesus spent in Hell between His crucifixion and resurrection. I wonder the story is behind this unlikely interaction between Faerie and Heaven. That is sure to be an interesting story in itself.
The trio of malevolent Faerie take Ruin and Heather to their queen Nuala. We only see her briefly, but she appears to be pretty much as we last saw her. She appears pretty much as she did last time we saw her. Rather plain without her Faerie illusionary beauty. She wears a simple worn dress. And her hesitant, stuttering voice betrays her strong words, “All sh-shall t-tremble before me.
I was wondering how Nuala could have gone from the shy, unassuming Faerie we saw in the original Sandman series to being able to lead a revolution that usurped Auberon’s rule. But, at first glance, it doesn’t look like she’s changed much at all. I suspect that someone else is the real power behind the throne, using Nuala as a figurehead. But who could it be? My first suspicion would be Puck, but we will have to see how the story develops.
The artwork is particularly effective in this issue. Nick Robles does a masterful job of depicting the blasted remains of the realm of Faerie. And the use of guest artist M.K. Perker to illustrate the flashback sequence was a clever idea. Perker’s style was different enough to effectively mark that interlude as a different time, but still similar enough to the rest of the book as not to be too jarring to the reader.
Neil Gaiman set a high bar with his original work, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for G. Willow Wilson. Her story thus far has proven a worthy extension of Gaiman’s original Sandman series.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #9 is another fantastic chapter in G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles’ followup to Neil Gaiman’s classic. Wilson’s story has hit every note perfectly so far, and I fully expect that she will continue to do so.