Saturday, March 18, 2017

Review: The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The good news is that I remain intrigued by the possibilities of The Sandman as I finish volume three of the collected works. I thought I knew where it was headed, then discovered I was wrong, and now am still curious about where it’s going. Almost a third of the way through the series, I still have the positive sense that it could turn into almost anything.

The less good news is that I liked where I thought it was going more than I like where it has gone to this point. I loved the first volume, Preludes and Nocturnes, because it was such a fresh take on the comic genre. It had the form of a superhero book, giving us a different kind of hero who was caught up in an intriguing story of revenge and perpetual reinvention. I enjoyed the second volume because I thought it was reloading for another multi-issue narrative in which Morpheus deals with an anomaly in his universe.

This volume, though, is a grab bag. Instead of giving us an extended story arc, this one gives one striking issue after another. It’s fun to see Morpheus invite the lords of fairy to see a production of the still-living Will Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it’s intriguing to see the story of how a seductive death helps a woman disfigured into invulnerability eventually kill herself.

Each of those stories is its own, though. We’ve lost the continuity of the series. On the one hand I admire that a lot. These are, in effect, short stories, and it takes enormous skill to tell a new one every issue. And I enjoy most of these.

But, again, it isn’t quite what I expected. I’ll keep reading these one-offs for a while, but I signed up because I thought I’d get to see Morpheus dive into an extended, novel-like experience. I still think that might be coming and, if I know it is, I think I’ll come back and revise my estimate of these interesting stand-alones upward.

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