The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: 1989
Titles: The Sandman #1-8
It’s hard to believe that these comics came out of the “Dark Age” of comic books. Maybe it’s Neil Gaiman’s writing, maybe it’s the inclusion of some amazing mythological characters. But this is an amazing series, and probably some of the most memorable of the 90s.
Preludes and Noctures collects The Sandman #1-8, and it contains the “More than Rubies” storyline. We begin with the ensnarement of Dream, who goes by many names in the course of these comics. His capture has long reaching consequences for mortals across the globe. Once he is freed, he begins to go about the plan to regain his strength and exact his revenge.
Dream encounters a variety of characters from the DC universe, including John Constantine and Doctor Destiny. However, a pre-existing knowledge of the characters is not necessary. It’s the sort of cameo that would by enhanced by previous knowledge, but is not worthless without it. While I’ve never read any of the Constantine comics, I was aware of the basic story of the character. I vaguely remembered Doctor Destiny from Batman’s rogues gallery, but the story tells you what you need to know. Namely, that he is crazy.
I really enjoyed this story. It felt mostly self-contained, but the stories within connected well to each other. The artwork is not for the faint of heart–there are a few gruesome moments. It’s not my preferred style of artwork when it comes to comics, but it is certainly atmospheric. And Gaiman’s writing is very well done.
Dream, or Morpheus, is an interesting character. He is both understated and full of emotion. One gets the sense that he is weary, trudging through eternity because he knows he must. But he is not without mercy, or kindness. I look forward to seeing him developed further.
All in all, this is an excellent beginning to a series.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Trigger Warnings: Gruesome images, partial nudity, violence, mentions of rape.