Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Reads You Review: THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE #1

DC COMICS/VERTIGO – @DCComics and @vertigo_comics

WRITER:  Neil Gaiman
ART: J.H. Williams, III
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Todd Klein
EDITORS: Karen Berger and Shelly Bond
COVERS: J.H. Williams, III (Cover A); Dave McKean (Cover B)
32pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (December 2013)

“Suggested for Mature Readers”

Chapter One

The Sandman was a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by numerous artists, including Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, and Shawn McManus, among many.  The Sandman chronicled the adventures of a character called Dream (or Morpheus) that was created by Gaiman and artists, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg.  Dream was one of “The Endless,” and he ruled over the world of dreams.

Published by DC Comics, the series ran for 75 issues (cover dates: January 1989 to March 1996).  For 29 issues (beginning with #47), The Sandman was published under the banner of Vertigo, a DC Comics’ imprint.

The Sandman returns in a new six-issue comic book miniseries, The Sandman: Overture.  Written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by artist J.H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture will explore Morpheus’ world before he was captured, which is how readers found him way back in The Sandman #1.

“This is the one story that we never got to tell,” Neil Gaiman told The New York Times in an interview last year. “In Sandman #1, Morpheus is captured somehow. Later on in the series, you learn he was returning from somewhere far, far away – but we never got to the story of what he was doing and what had happened. This is our chance to tell that story, and J.H. Williams III is drawing it.  It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

The Sandman: Overture #1 takes place in different time periods and on multiple planes of existence/reality.  Chapter One introduces Ian Stuart, a young tradesman in 1915 London; he seems destined to fall prey to The Corinthian.  The Endless make an appearance, and their sibling Dream is the subject of much discussion.  Meanwhile, Dream receives a “call” that he cannot deny.

Being that The Sandman: Overture is a six-issue miniseries, I expected Neil Gaiman to do more introducing than revealing in the first issue.  He does, but they are such intriguing introductions.  If you are familiar with and like Gaiman’s work, especially The Sandman, I don’t have to sell you on this comic book, dear reader.  Still, I must say that if #1 is any indication, The Sandman: Overture is going to be really, really good.

What I can deliver a verdict on is the fantastic art by artist J.H. Williams III and colorist Dave Stewart.  It is some of the best comic book art of 2013, if not the best.  J.H. Williams III is a visionary, and although many exceptional artists have drawn Sandman comics, Williams seems born to draw The Sandman.  It is as if Gaiman has been waiting for the perfect artist to draw his Sandman stories, and Williams is that artist.

Williams brings every reality to life, and that his drawings are the perfect incarnation of what Gaiman has created with this new comic book seems like a plain and simply fact.  Dave Stewart gives the art character and makes the ethereal nature of the story solid – like a dream brought to life.

The Sandman: Overture does not come across as some nostalgia publication, struggling to make a connection with a classic, nearly two decades after the original ended.  It is as if the dream never ended.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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