March 8, 2011

Getting Graphic: "The Sandman (Vol. 4): Seasons of the Mist" by Neil Gaiman


The Sandman (Volume 4): Seasons of the Mist
by Neil Gaiman
illustrated by Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Craig Russell
DC Comics (1992)
ISBN 15638890410 (Trade Paperback)


It seems that with each volume in Gaiman's Sandman Library, the further down the rabbit hole I go. After reading the first three volumes, I found myself irreparably haunted by Morpheus the Lord of Dreams, and I'll bet I'm not the only one to feel that way having read these stories. Turnabout is fair play it seems, as the fourth volume Season of Mists shows a haunted side of Morpheus.


After a gracious introduction by the pontifical Harlan Ellison, Gaiman whisks us into the Sandman's world with a family reunion of sorts called by Destiny. Dream, Desire, Delirium, Death, and Despair attend and are given a vague premonition that their meeting is meant to kick-start a major change. Lo and behold, ol' Dreamboat is sent on a guilt trip over an act of spite he committed several millennia ago when he condemned an ex-lover to Hell.


So far, reading the Sandman Library has been a pleasurable reading experience with only one lull, but Season of Mists managed to steal the show for me and is now my favorite volume in the series so far. The Sandman has to contend with Lucifer only to have the Devil give him Hell--literally. The story diverges from its initial plot, which is Dream's mission to save his ex-lover, but everything has its own way of working out ... at least as well as any Sandman story can. The artwork continues to dazzle, accentuating by voice bubbles with varying fonts to denote certain characters' voices and temperaments, which I think is really well done in the Sandman series.


Lucifer is a fantastically wicked character, as he should be, and I hope he and Morpheus cross paths again in a future volume. And with Morpheus gradually acquiring depth as a character in each successive volume, I become ever more intrigued by where his ultimate story is headed. Definitely looking forward to reading the fifth volume down the road, A Game of You.

CymLowell

4 comments:

  1. Ha! Just finished Volume one about 10 minutes ago. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get into this series.

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  2. Ah, now this is the Sandman that I remember! I've still got the individual issues. Alas, I read little of the Sandman after this series; now I don't recall if it was because this one was so great and I knew it couldn't get any better, or if I simply moved on to other more pressing things. 20 years, you know.

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  3. I read these as they were coming out (wow, that was a while ago) and it might be my favorite sequence in the Sandman series.

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  4. Ken - I know what you mean. Now that I'm reading comic books again, my appetite for these is ravenous.

    Will - Interesting. I'll be reading the next volume in the spring, so maybe that'll jog your memory when I post a review.

    JL - I can see why.

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