Review: Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #5

by Matthew Lloyd
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Review: Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascensia
Letters: Tom Napolitano

Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd





Wesley makes some headway in the mystery, but he hasn’t quite figured it all out.  Maybe you saw it coming…the men behind the Fog- REVEALED!


Wesley Dodds #5 like last issue demonstrate the balanced approach to story telling that Venditti, Rossmo and Plascencia are employing in this series.  Previous reviews have indicated the relationship of this series to the seminal Sandman Mystery Theater under the Vertigo imprint from the 1990’s, but with this issue, there’s a bit more of a connection to the Golden Age Sandman stories as there’s more focus on the physicality of Wesley Dodds.  It’s a lot easier to imagine this version of Dodds donning the yellow and purple swashbuckling costume introduced by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in Adventure Comics #72.  It’s a wonder dichotomy between the two takes on the character, a perfect marriage if you will.  Plascencia’s colors contribute to this wonderfully as some of the bright choices recall the comics of the Golden Age while also maintaining darker ones the keep the mystery/ noir elements in play.

A lot of the details keep the reader firmly in the 1940’s setting, both in the art and the significance of World War II in the plot.  Additionally, Rossmo (and Venditti?) includes a brilliant old comic reference that fits thematically with Wesley Dodds dreams.  On a newspaper that just happens to be on the floor of a shack that Sandman confronts someone Rossmo draws a strip of Little Nemo in Slumberland by Windsor McCay.  This is an important strip in the history of comic strips.  In the strip, Nemo has adventures in his dreams which can be thematically connected to Dodds own prophetic dreams.  In Wesley Dodds #5, Rossmo draws Nemo as a kid in a Batman costume.  It’s an amazing connections as the Sandman would’ve been the premier street level/ creature of the night type of hero in the DC Universe during the Golden Age without Batman.

It should also be noted that Rossmo and Plascencia also combine to evoke different atmospheres and settings quite wonderfully.  The setting is a huge part of the Venditti’s story and the art and colors get this part right.


Hard to find a real negative in this series.  Perhaps, the fact that the series is due to end after next issue is the obvious one.


Wesley Dodds #5 sets up a finale that may hold further surprises or simply wrap up the story.  Either way, this series has maintained a consistent quality as it’s progressed.  It’s just plain good with some moments of brilliance.

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