The search for Sandman continues in Si Spurrier and Bilquis Evely’s excellent The Dreaming. The series’ latest arc continues to journey through mythical realms revealing a colorful and full of life universe. In this latest chapter, new realms are entered, the current ward of The Dreaming isn’t quite right for the job, and Dora must endure an ex.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Dream Hunters chart the footsteps of their absent lord through realms internal and external, stumbling at last upon an unexpected treasure…while the new incumbent upon the throne of the Dreaming–scared of its own mind–at last decides who, and how, to be.
Why does this matter?
This is a story for those who like storytelling. It’s dense but freeing, detailed in its art and life-affirming, and it has been a wild ride.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The art for this series continues to dazzle in its complexity, clever layout design, and layered approach to making these worlds look so rich. One particular page has the characters walk along a path than curves back and forth until it finally curves impossibly to fit inside the page. In another, Sandman looks on at a plethora of creatures somewhat subdued with Sandman cast in a stark white. The art always seems to be swirling with life making it hard to put down even when it can get more verbose than one might expect. The final page is a show stopper of shadow and light.
The search for Sandman is plotted well, keeping Dora on track while introducing interesting ideas and layered characters. This is paced well against Abel attempting to explain to a computer how the Dreaming works. There are some thoughtful ideas spouted by Abel that’ll make you think that ties well into Dora’s story. There’s a good bit of conflict in the story too that helps keep readers on edge even when it dips its toes into myth. The concept of story being chaos rendered into something that makes sense suits this series too since it’s chaotic in itself.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The story references many versions of mythical characters that you may need to search on Wikipedia to get a fuller picture. This makes a bit of the book feel like you could be left out if you’re not up on your gods like Orobas, Andromalius, and so on. Another gripe is how it’s dangling Sandman in such a way where we’re led well enough, but it’s unclear where we’re going or even what Sandman is up to. There’s a mystery to be had here, but there isn’t quite enough to go on to pick up clues.
Is it good?
Another great chapter in a series that’s visually stunning while spinning an arresting story about stories. It’s a series where the impossible is ordinary and your imagination can thrive.