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"The Sandman Universe #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics / Vertigo

sandman universe 1 00

Story by Neil Gaiman
Written by Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, and Dan Watters
Illustrated by Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara
Colored by Mat Lopes
Lettered by Simon Bowland
2018, 58 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on August 8th, 2018


Sandman is required reading for any comic book fan. Neil Gaiman's sprawling epic has stood the test of time and is an easy recommendation for anyone interested in digging deeper into the world of comics. Now DC Comics though its Vertigo imprint is expanding this world under the guidance of Gaiman himself, and it's dealing with some pretty big stuff. Daniel, the Lord of Dreams, is missing when a huge crack is discovered in the Dreaming. This is just one of the aspects of Sandman Universe.

This one-shot is designed to introduce four new series that tie into the overall Sandman mythos: Lucifer, The Dreaming, Books of Magic, and House of Whispers. Unlike other similar endeavors, where it's basically a hodge-podge of drastically different artwork and designs, this flows together well, seamlessly jumping from one element to another. It's tough to tell when one introduction ends and another begins. That is not a bad thing at all, as this serves as an immersive reading experience.

Click images to enlarge

It's easy to get caught up within this world. It's one where anything is possible, however there are certain rules that everyone must abide by. When those rules are broken, it leads to dire circumstances. Although I'm a little rusty on my Sandman (I intend to do a re-read of the whole series soon.), I was completely plugged into this story. It's like everything came flooding back and these characters weren't sitting in books on my shelf for years, but in my life every day.

The Sandman Universe #1 is made by the same creative teams that will be working on the new series in the coming months, although it's not clear who did which sections. They're credited as a group, so I can't properly credit some of the best sections of the comic. That is a tough job anyway because this is an incredible read from start to finish. There is not a weak link in the entire issue.

Although the artistic styles vary, the transition from one to another never felt jarring, which can be the case when multiple artists contribute to a single issue. Instead, the change feels natural, occurring at breaks in the story, shifting from scene to scene. I often didn't even notice it. It's almost like two artists worked on a single page, literally passing it from one to the other on a panel by panel basis.

Click images to enlarge

One image that is a clear standout is the rift in the Dreaming. It's a literal crack in the sky, as if you were living in a snow globe and the glass began to shatter. It's a frightening shot that's filled with a dark sense of foreboding. This dark hole is looming above a magical land full of life and energy. Colorist Mat Lopes creates a terrific contrast here.

A constant throughout The Sandman Universe #1 is Matthew the Raven. He serves as a guide, introducing us to each of the new stories as he searches for Daniel. Letter Simon Bowland using a more rugged font for his words, both internally and externally, surrounded by a yellow-framed balloon. This is later juxtaposed with a ghost raven with the same font, but a blue-framed balloon, like this one represents death while Matthew is life.

The Sandman Universe is a welcome return to this world. It's an impressive collaborative effort and a fantastic way to introduce a number of new series. I'm more excited about this continuation than most of the relaunches and reboots that have popped up in recent years. It accomplished this with a single, solid issue that weaved through each area calmly and efficiently. At the bottom line, it's just great storytelling. That sums up Sandman as a whole and it certainly applies here too.


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Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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