Take an apartment house, add in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, a talking severed head, a confused heroine and the deadly Cuckoo. Stir vigorously with a hurricane and Morpheus himself and you get this fifth installment of the SANDMAN series. This story stars Barbie, who first makes an appearance in THE DOLL’S HOUSE and now finds herself a princess in a vivid dreamworld.
This is probably my favourite volume, if only because the storyline is so emotional and personal. Here we have a story which fundamentally ties together as much because of the connection between the characters themselves as because of the overall storytelling. And the end… yeah, worth the price of admission. Bittersweet and beautiful.
Ten thousand years ago, Morpheus condemned a woman who loved him to Hell. Now the other members of his immortal family, The Endless, have convinced the Dream King that this was an injustice. To make it right, Morpheus must return to Hell to rescue his banished love — and Hell’s ruler, the fallen angel Lucifer, has already sworn to destroy him.
In my mind this is the cycle where Gaiman really starts to enrich the mythos he’s created, pulling in gods and myths from around the world into an intriguing storyline that amounts to a supernatural political thriller. About my only complaint, here, is that, much like The Dollhouse, the ending comes way too easily, in this case with a literal deus ex machina.
The third book of the Sandman collection, DREAM COUNTRY continues the fantastical mythology of Morpheus, the King of Dreams. In these centuries-spanning tales, the powerful entity known as the Sandman interacts with a diverse assortment of humans, fairies, heroes, and animals as he walks the mortal plane. Including an amazing encounter with William Shakespeare and an interesting take on the origin and first performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this collection depicts the dreaming world of cats, the tragic life of forgotten super-heroes and the folly of imprisoning and torturing a former lover of the King of Dreams. Collects issues #17-20 including "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which won a World Fantasy Award.
A bit short, this is a series of standalone stories that show Gaiman’s prowess for telling interesting tales set in the world he’s created. Not much to say, here… solid, unique storytelling at its finest.
In THE DOLL'S HOUSE, after a decades-long imprisonment, the Sandman has returned to find that a few dreams and nightmares have escaped to reality. Looking to recapture his lost possessions, Morpheus ventures to the human plane only to learn that a woman named Rose Walker has inadvertently become a dream vortex and threatens to rip apart his world. Now as Morpheus takes on the last escaped nightmare at a serial killers convention, the Lord of Dreams must mercilessly murder Rose or risk the destruction of his entire kingdom. Collecting issues #9-16, this new edition of THE DOLL'S HOUSE features the improved production values and coloring from the Absolute Edition.
Dark and haunting is probably the best way to describe this volume. The story revolves around a number of agents of the dreamworld who, in Morpheus’ absence, have decided to have a little fun of their own. You can start to see the mythos really start to flesh outself out in this storyline, though the ending seemed to come a bit easily…