Review: Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Wesley Dodds gets to work investigating the burglary and fire at his house and comes face to face with his adversary, making Wesley feel about three steps behind.
It should come as no surprise that this series has inspired a rereading of Sandman Mystery Theater. Venditti, Rossmo and Plascencia are clearly taking their own inspiration from that series. As Wesley is able to evaluate more and more of the clues, Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #3 feels more and more like a direct continuation of Sandman Mystery Theater. Perhaps, it isn’t quite as gritty or adult, but it feels so close to the world of Sandman Mystery Theater, it’s hard not to think of them together. It’s important to understand that Sandman Mystery Theater was one of the excellent Vertigo titles of the ’90’s and such comparison is high praise.
Wesley gets to follow up on some clues as he questions the coroner, and learns some interesting facts about the deceased man found in Wesley’s house which burned at the end of issue #1. One of the more subtle aspects of this series that we see touched on in this issue is Dian Belmont assisting Wesley in his work as the Sandman. She’s very much in the background, but in this issue she points out something in a file that not only helps Wesley, but what she says aloud helps maintain Wesley’s concealed motive for having police files strewn about his coffee table. Dian has been at Wesley’s side and in on his secret identity since the ’40’s and gratifying to have this aspect still present.
There’s a really well done action sequence at the end of Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #3 when Wesley faces off against the thief of his deadly gas formulas. This antagonist is presenting himself as a darker version of the Sandman with seemingly no compunction against killing. He dresses in a darker version of the Sandman costume as well which is effective. The layouts by Rossmo are dynamic full of energy. It’s a well executed action sequence that also adds some cerebral content to set this series stylistically apart.
Rossmo continues to reference the look and fashion of the era that assists with not only the world building, but also ensuring the authenticity of this as a period piece. Drawing the appropriate modes of dress and fabric patterns is a detail that not everyone may notice, but when it is noticed, it adds a significant level visually.
It’s hard to find a negative for this issue, maybe it’s too short? That seems to be about it. I’d easily take five more pages an issue.
Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #3 is another great issue. There’s a physical and emotional conflict for Wesley with the theft of his formulas and Venditti lays it our for the reader to suffer along with Wesley’s conscience. Rossmo and Plascencia add the right details to make the story interesting visually and they add up to being the kind of book DC Comics needs more of.