The Sandman: Overture #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
A small planet drifts in orbit. The home to a sentient plant organism that relegates its species to the southern continent where it remains with limited mobility and beautiful dreams. Quorian exists in its own mind and encounters a black entity with a white face as it’s slowly swept away by flame and death.
25 years after the first issue of the Sandman we are swept back into the wild imagination and lush dream country of the Endless with this new 6-issue prequel, Overture. Again with master storyteller Neil Gaiman at the helm, but now paired with the incredible talent of JH Williams III, this new Sandman series has had mountains of hype built since its announcement at San Diego Comic Con in 2012 and a massively expanded audience eagerly anticipating its release since the series’ final issue in 1996. Delivering all the wonder and fantasy that we have come to expect from the book’s ongoing tales and myriad spin-offs, one-shots and parallel projects, Overture is both an accessible journey into the life of Morpheus and an exquisite return to the character’s mythos.
Back in a medium that had catapulted him to the forefront of fantasy fiction is Neil Gaiman, a mind whose work is responsible for some truly mind-bending, bold and inventive universes where gods battle at roadside attractions, parents have buttons for eyes and Delirium is personified in the form of a demented sibling. A renowned, multi-award winning author, Gaiman’s novels (American Gods, Anansi Boys, The Ocean at the End of the Lane), screenplays (Mirror Mask, Beowolf), television work (Babylon 5, Neverwhere, Doctor Who) and plethora of other creations are all vastly inventive and absorb and captivate audiences across the globe. His stories are always invigorating and entirely unique and with the first chapter of Overture, Gaiman’s script is lyrical, enchanting, mesmerizing and staggeringly beautiful. Getting to read a prose description of Destiny and his book of the universe is a meta journey through realms of possibility and childlike exploration. Reading dialogue from favorite characters of the series like the Dreamwold’s chain-smoking janitor, Merv Pumpkinhead and the kingdom’s librarian, Lucien, is a great treat and Gaiman eases himself smoothly back into the voices without conflict. This new trip into the land of Dreams is an example of why Neil Gaiman is constantly heralded as one of the best in fantasy.
J.H. Williams III is an astounding talent to behold with his cinematic design sense and beautiful painted style that often turns pages into jaw dropping landscapes of invention. Pages cataloguing the infinite world contained in a book held by an Endless or galactic flames trailing throughout the stars with a god of dreams swirling in confusion are amazing. The intro that features the life and death of a gothic flower is a haunting reverie as it is torn away from its place in the subconscious world, galaxies away from its home. Instances of this magnitude and gorgeous visual layouts are common occurrences in Williams III’s comics whether it be in the pages of Promethea or pages of his recent run on Batwoman. His artwork is always an absolute marvel and truly can’t be gushed over enough.
The Sandman: Overture by JH Williams III and Neil Gaiman is a welcome return to the world of the Dream Lord and a perfect first chapter in a must-read and hype worthy series.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com