The Sandman Universe #1 Review
The Sequel Kicks off with the Launch of the Sandman Universe #1
The anticipated return of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series kicked off this week with the Sandman Universe #1.
The Sandman Universe one-shot is a sequel that kicks-off the launch of four new monthly Sandman series beginning next month. The Dreaming, House of Whispers, Lucifer and Books of Magic will break off into separate chapters of the Sandman storyline from the Sandman Universe issue. Gaiman and DC have entrusted each of these series with Simon Spurrier (Coda) who’ll write The Dreaming arc, Nalo Hopkinson (Sister Mine) will write In the House of Whispers, Lucifer will be written by Dan Watters (The Shadow: Leviathan), and Books of Magic will be written by Kat Howard (An Unkindness of Magicians). Each are expected to keep the heart of Gaiman’s Sandman series in their arcs, but will bring new voices to revive the series with fresh perspectives to lead the series into a new generation.
The original Sandman series concluded 22 years ago, finishing with 75 issues as well as one special from 1989 – 1996. In 1999, Gaiman followed up his original series with a novella, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters. In 2013, Gaiman wrote Sandman: Overture, a prequel to Preludes and Nocturnes. The six-issue series had notable production delays, but received generally high praise from fans and critics, even receiving the 2016 Hugo Award for the Best Graphic Story.
Sandman Universe begins the series by taking readers through the anarchy of the current state of Dreaming after Dream has gone missing. Matthew the Raven serves as the narrator as he travels in search of clues as to Dream’s whereabouts, but only finding chaos that is used as a catalyst to the upcoming series’. He weaves in the setup of each of the four series throughout his journey.
The tone of Gaiman’s Sandman series could be felt throughout the entire issue, promising that these four writers will keep what made the original series great while offering fresh voices for their series. The artwork throughout the book, in addition to the previews of the upcoming series’, also offer promise of continuity of Gaiman’s tone. The original characters personalities also remain relatively intact, eliminating the fear of the writers using their own version of the characters in different directions.
The narrative is a bit choppy, which would be a concern if Sandman Universe were a continuing series. However, the choppy storyline is necessary to setup the upcoming series with a limited number of pages available to do so correctly. Much like the fear fans had with DC’s recent revival of the Watchmen series, these Sandman series’ will keep fans skeptical until their release, and likely several issues into it. If the Sandman Universe issue is any indication of what’s to come, fans can remain optimistic of their success.