If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you will have picked up that I’m a Neil Gaiman fan. I love his whimsical, quirky style. With this in mind, it was inevitable that I would have to eventually track down some of the Sandman graphic novels which I got the impression were among his finest works. When Preludes and Nocturnes, the first compiled volume, popped up in our local library, I grabbed it immediately.
The plot is a locate and retrieve quest – ‘Dream’ has been ensnared by mistake and the tools of his trade taken from him. When he eventually escapes his captors, he sets out to regain his tools, and with them his former powers. His quests take him to Hell and back. Literally.
The plot is not overly original, but good fun nevertheless. In many ways it is secondary to the discovery and development of the character of Dream, who I can see will become a highly original and fascinating person in time. At this point not quite there yet, but enough in place to capture the imagination.
I loved the covers of the original comics which are included. The art here is dream like, hinting at images left at the back of the mind as waking, insubstantial and not quite graspable.
Not quite sure about the inclusion of the Justice League of America (superheroes). Not being a great superhero fan, the appearance of these jarred and broke my suspense of disbelief. I can see how Batman might fit in a similar mode as Dream, but to me caped heroes don’t belong in this world. (That said, not being an avid comic reader, I may come with a different vision of them that graphic novel readers who know them through that medium.)
I enjoyed this volume, and will most certainly hunt down the next. Not Gaiman’s best work, but certainly hinting at what may follow.