Friday, February 22, 2008

The Sandman v1: Preludes & Nocturnes - Neil Gaiman

A collection of the first eight comics in the series; Sleep of the Just, Imperfect Hosts, Dream a Little Dream of Me, A Hope in Hell, Passengers, 24 Hours, Sounds and Fury and The Sound of Her Wings. It begins with Morpheus the Lord of Dreams and King of Stories being trapped by a group of humans trying to capture Death. In the human world people start to suffer from a sleeping sickness while he is away only waking briefly throughout his capture which lasts a human lifetime. He is finally able to free himself and has to track down his sacred objects which contain parts of himself to regain his power. These are a pouch of sand held by a human, a mask an unknown demon has and a ruby last seen in the possession of one of the Justice League.

Along the way he meets a range of comic book heros and villians including John Constantine, John Dee, Doctor Crane (The Scarecrow), Scott Free, Cain and Abel from The Bible and the Morning Star Lucifer among others. He also spends a chapter meeting up with his sister, a perky goth girl who just happens to be Death. I enjyoed the mythological references and how Morpheus gains his freedom from Hell. Lucifer has his army arrayed and tells Morpheus he has no power in Hell. The response is "What power would Hell have is those imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?", very powerful stuff.

A good introduction to the series. Lots of horror in 24 Hours and you can really start to hear Gaiman's unique voice coming through in The Sound of Her Wings. I loved the artwork, some of the attention to detail is amazing. I am looking forward to reading the second collection in the series.

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