The Sandman: Overture

By Neil Gaiman

Rating: 3 stars

In this prelude to Gaiman’s masterpiece, we learn why Dream was so weak that Roderick Burgess was able to capture him at the beginning of Preludes and Nocturnes. A star has gone mad, the result of something that Morpheus left undone a long time ago, and now he must repair the damage and stop the madness spreading and destroying the universe.

The art in the book is really lovely. The book is a stunning artwork in its own right and it has the feel of the dreamtime about it. It puts you in the right mood for the story. The story itself is suitably epic in scale and mythic in tone. The idea of sentient stars put me in mind of Stapledon’s Star Maker and the meeting of the different aspects of Dream (across a stunning four-page spread) is a wonderful scene.

I would say that this is a book to definitely come back and read after having read the story proper. There are spoilers for Sandman, and lots of references that can’t be appreciated unless you’re familiar with the main story, as well as cameos from some of Dream’s family and other characters from the Dreaming and beyond. So although you could read it before the main story, you’ll get the most out of it if you read it afterwards.

One thing I thought worked less well was the introduction of yet another layer of mythic entities. The First Circle seems unnecessary, except as a way to provide exposition and the idea of the Endless having parents also seemed unnecessary, especially as they didn’t really do very much.

So very pretty, enjoyable but not exactly essential. It has made me want to go back and re-read Sandman though.

Book details

ISBN: 9781401248963
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Year of publication: 2015

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