Book Review: Sandman Overture

The year is 1915. A star has gone mad and is about to bring a premature end to the universe, and somewhere in the vast, limitless cosmos an aspect of Dream has met an untimely end. Naturally, it falls to everyone’s favourite personification of an abstract concept, and part time Robert Smith impersonator, to sort things out. In the simplest terms, and without giving away any important details, Overture tells of Morpheus’ exploits that led to his imprisonment in that snazzy glass bubble by Roderick Burgess. As with the parent series, Overture leans more toward surreal dark fantasy than any stereotypical soft sci-fi tales of costumed heroism. Twenty years after the conclusion of the main series and a decade after the last Gaiman written Sandman story, it’s nice to see that the author has not lost his feel for the character. The lord of dreams is still stubborn and arrogant and his siblings are still a group of petty conceptual personifications given to fits of squabbling and plotting. A favourite scene of mine involves Morpheus meeting with the various forms of himself and wondering if he’s always been so insufferably pretentious. The artwork, supplied by penciller J.H. Williams and colourist Dave Stewart, is absolutely beautiful and only serves to enhance the narrative. It was a little strange, however, to see the lord of dreams depicted without his trademark goth coif. Overall, the series does a great job of filling in any story gaps in those early volumes of The Sandman. What’s more, it does so with great pacing and without any of the glaring continuity errors that can so easily befall prequels. If this is truly to be Gaiman’s last sojourn though Dream’s strange world, it is a fitting and more than adequate end. Thanks to an infamous trilogy of sci-fi films, I always enter into prequels with a fair amount of trepidation. Despite the rather gushing tone of this review, this time was no different. So, it was nice to see that Gaiman managed to pull this thing off.

side note: the version i picked up is the hardcover deluxe edition. It’s a nice product and boasts nice cover graphics (once again courtesy of J.H. Williams and Dave Stewart) and boasts a pretty extensive behind the scenes section. If that sort of things interests you, it can be picked up on Amazon for around $13.00 US.

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