“Nightmare Country” – Chapter Six
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Maria Lovet
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Reviewed By Steve J. Ray
After five amazing issues featuring the Corinthian, it’s all-change this month, as Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #6 shifts the spotlight to focus on Dream’s former lover, and everyone’s favorite witch, Thessaly.
It’s no secret that, as a huge fan of this universe from day one, I’ve really been enjoying this series. Having five incredible issues featuring The Corinthian was one thing, particularly with the wonderful Sandman TV show hitting the airwaves in the midst of it, but seeing another character from Neil Gaiman’s magnificent mythos making an appearance makes this issue incredibly special too.
Nightmare Country #6 works brilliantly, both as an intro for new readers, as well as a teaser for the forthcoming new Sandman Universe series, Dead Boy Detectives. As someone who’s loved these stories for over thirty years, seeing favorite characters again has been wonderful. Although the sad demise of the new Vertigo imprint (from 2018-2019, before transitioning to DC Black Label after 14 months, then ending completely in September 2021), broke the hearts of fans all over the world; Nightmare Country, the TV show, and the new Dead Boy Detectives book have made all our dreams of a continuing “Gaimanverse” come true.
James Tynion’s writing is, as always, pitch-perfect for a dark fantasy/horror tale. He’s captured Thessaly’s sense of self-importance and aloofness, as well as all her power and charisma. The fact that he’s also cleverly turned the horrific events of the previous five issues into the focus of a Hollywood movie for this sixth chapter is inspired. Only Tinseltown could transform the tragic death of a talented artist into melodrama.
The art and colors by Maria Lovet in this issue are similar enough in style to what’s come before, so as not to jar existing readers, yet different enough that this issue clearly feels like a new chapter in the ongoing series. The way she colors outside the lines adds a level of oddness and nostalgia that puts you on edge, while also reminding you of a more innocent, Ben-Day Dots era of years gone by. It’s very effective indeed.
As always, Simon Bowland’s letters and title pages give the issue, and the series as a whole, an identity, and feel unlike those of any other comic on the shelves.
The way the issue ends leads readers to believe that this story won’t be continuing in these pages. Personally, I will be buying the new Dead Boy Detectives book, but not every fan may follow suit. I know that Thessaly will be part of the new series, but I’m hoping that her story with this issue’s new character, screenwriter Jamie Tyler, continues next month.
Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #6 is a great issue. We get new characters, a terrific script, quirky art, and the return of an old favorite. The fact that this imprint will be growing with a second title (and hopefully more in the months and years to come) is a source of real joy.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment