Review: Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6

by Matthew Lloyd
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Review: Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6
[Editor’s Note: This review DEFINITELY contains spoilers]

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

Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd




The Sandman has his final showdown with Wheeler Vanderlyle.  It doesn’t look good for Wesley as he is stabbed, shot and gassed.


Venditti and Rossmo do a great job of building the tension in this issue as The Sandman battles Vanderlyle.  It’s not always easy to do this with a character the reader knows will survive.  However, they are certainly successful in Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #4.  Venditti adds emotional and psychological elements that enhance the drama.  It’s been something Venditti’s addressing all along as it connects to Wesley’s characterization in Sandman Mystery Theater and that I’ve noted in previous reviews of this series.

(I don’t like to spoils things that are essential to endings, but…SPOILERS AHEAD, last chance to turn back)

The denouement of this story has a couple nice touches, first, the appearance of Sanderson Hawkins, the future Sandy the Golden Boy.  Also, the Justice Society of America shows up at Wesley’s back door.  It gives the series a feel good ending that connects this mini-series to a larger world that fans will appreciate.

The resolution of Wes’s fight with Vanderlyle can go either way.  From one perspective it is a perfect ending that echoes the development of the Wesley/ Dian relationship from Sandman Mystery Theater.  It’s great to have Dian in the proceedings and give her a role.  It’s great to see that aspect of the Wesley/ Dian dynamic, and it’s something that should be developed should this series be able to go forward in some capacity.

The cover by Rossmo is also a great homage to a Golden Age cover by Alex Schomburg featuring Captain America and Bucky. It’s from U.S.A. Comics #7, though some readers may be more familiar with an Alex Ross Invaders image that also homages this cover.



The other side of this is that in this first solo series in decades, Wesley Dodds has to be saved by another character.  While it works on one level as it is emblematic of their partnership, it isn’t the strongest ending for Wesley.  Had Dian had a larger role earlier in the story, it would’ve given Dian some agency while not stealing the spotlight from Wesley.  Outright it’s not a full negative, it just isn’t the best ending, and unfortunately, the reader wants to see Wes be the hero here.

If this series is over, then it’s the biggest negative for Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6.  This series has been great and it’s a real shame if it doesn’t continue in some way.  There’s a lot more stories to tell with Wes and Dian.

The appearance of the JSA at the end IS a nice touch.  However, their desire to recruit him calls into question the very history of the JSA and their origin.  The Alan Scott: The Green Lantern mini-series has so far altered Alan Scott’s history as well as some JSA history. In the JSA origin story, the Sandman is one of the characters that goes to Germany to face Hitler.  The JSA forms after this adventure.  It doesn’t make sense that Wesley would be recruited by the JSA after they started to form a group.  Unfortunately, if the JSA shows up at Wesley’s door to recruit him, it means the origin of the JSA with Hitler gaining the Spear of Destiny is being altered/retconned or whatever. 

If this is what’s happening, then I suppose that we will have to accept that this is a whole new history for the JSA and DC’s Golden Age characters.   However, the third of the current Golden Age/JSA mini-series, Jay Garrick: The Flash specifically references Hitler and the Spear of Destiny.  So what’s happening here?  Editorial has been negligent at DC Comics of late and it’s not clear if this is just editorial error/ antipathy or a genuine attempt to rewrite a bit of history while not making it clear for the readers that this is what’s happening.


Overall, Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6 is a really good comic.  there are some really fun moments as well as thrilling ones.  It’s clear that this series is deserving of an ongoing by this creative team.  There’s plenty more stories to tell and more to be done with Dian and Wesley, and eventually Sandy.  The hiccups mentioned don’t detract in a big way, but just distract for a bit.

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