Graphic Novel Review: The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

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Banned Books Week.

I bor­rowed this graphic novel from the library.

Review The Sandman Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

The Sand­man: Pre­ludes and Noc­turnes” by Neil Gaiman is the col­lected issues of Sand­man #1–8. This is the story of Mor­pheus, who has been acci­den­tally cap­tured in 1916 by a magi­cian. Mor­pheus, the Sand­man, is an eter­nal being respon­si­ble for sleep and rules over The Dream­ing – the place where humans go when they are in an uncon­scious state.

Mor­pheus was acci­den­tally cap­tured because the magi­cian, Rod­er­ick Burgess, was try­ing to achieve immor­tal­ity by cap­tur­ing Death. Mor­pheus bides his time, when Burgess dies his cap­tor becomes Burgess’ son Alex, but he too can­not get any­thing out of their elu­sive pris­oner. Acci­dently Alex weak­ens Mor­pheus’ con­tain­ment spell by run­ning it over with his wheel­chair and Mor­pheus escapes, pun­ish­ing Alex with a life­time of night­mares

The weak­ened Mor­pheus goes on a jour­ney to recover his sym­bols of power: a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby. The pouch is found in the pos­ses­sion of occult detec­tive John Con­stantie’s girl­friend. To recover the helm Mor­pheus has to travel to hell where he is guided by the demon Etri­gan and meets DC's ver­sion of Lucifer (a beau­ti­ful angel with dark wings). The helm is in the pos­ses­sion of the demon Choron­zon and Mor­pheus wins it over in a bat­tle of wits, in which he takes on the form of Hope. The ruby is in the pos­ses­sion of John Dee, bet­ter known as Doc­tor Des­tiny, a supervil­lian from the Jus­tice League of Amer­ica. Dee tricks Mor­pheus and almost drains all his strength but then shut­ters the ruby which releases the power that Mor­pheus needs, restor­ing him to full strength.

The last book, named “The Sound of Her Wings” intro­duces Death, Mor­pheus’ sis­ter and is, in my opin­ion, one of the most bril­liant sto­ries I’ve have read. Death is a down-to-earth Goth girl. Young look­ing and untra­di­tional, Death spends the issue help­ing her brother with his depres­sion.

The Sand­man is a res­ur­rec­tion of an old DC Super­hero (pre­vi­ously Wes­ley Dodds) and is required read­ing if you want to read and under­stand the whole Sand­man saga. There are char­ac­ters and events which will have long last­ing effects through­out. How­ever, there are some flaws, for exam­ple I didn’t like that Gaiman entwined the DC uni­verse so tightly within the story, but that’s all over­looked by the excel­lent sto­ry­telling – a story about sto­ries.

The art much like the sto­ries varies from excel­lent to just good. Three artists have worked on this book and it shows, from Sam Keith’s car­toony style, to Mike Drin­gen­berg scratchy and moody art­work.

The Sand­man: Pre­ludes and Noc­turnes” is not a kids book, the sto­ries deal with sex­u­al­ity, addic­tion, hell, mad­ness and over­all some very unpleas­ant peo­ple. Pre­ludes and Noc­turnes — Entire issue avail­able for free down­load at DC Comics.

My rat­ing for The Sand­man: Pre­ludes and Noc­turnes - 4

Zohar — Man of La Book
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