The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country returns this week with a special one-shot digging into a moment from the first issue. It’s also a tie-in to the upcoming Dead Boy Detectives miniseries. Comics are very time consuming to draw, thus issues like this allow guest artists like Maria Llovet to dive in and deliver a side story. It’s a change of pace, to be sure, but an excellently written issue.
This issue opens with a new character trying to make a name for himself as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Right off the bat, you can tell James Tynion IV is crafting a story that feels at home in the Sandman universe as we explore a different type of writer. A creator of dreams, so to speak, as his imagination allows for worlds to be created. Sadly, though, as we’ve seen in other tales, Hollywood chews up writers and spits them out. He’s reluctant, isolated, and assumes the worst as far as why a bunch of producers would want to hire him.
After we get to know him, and he feels so well crafted like a real person, we learn his subject for his next screenplay is a woman who died in the first issue of this series. Among her dead body were the paintings of Corinthian and his eyes. This haunting story needs to be told, but alas, our main character barely knows her.
As we’re about to believe this is about making a story, Tynion and Llovet switch gears and introduce the main character’s neighbor. Tied to the mystical realm in exciting ways that are only revealed slowly but entirely by the end of the issue, the story kicks off in surprising ways. Essentially, this issue reads like a fun side-mission episode that allows for context around the larger world and probing the Sandman universe through a different prism.
Llovet’s art gives everything an organic hand-drawn feel. Her colors lean into bright pinks and purples, further creating a mystical realism in the narrative. The main character is properly disheveled and ordinary, especially compared to the much better-dressed characters that circulate him. As far as his neighbor, Llovet brings sexuality into her artistry, which creates an alluring figure. This enhances how our main character reacts to her as if drawn to her and further works when things get weird in the last third of the book.
As a lead-in for Dead Boy Detectives, this is a must-read, but fans of classic Sandman should also find plenty to delve into as it explores the writer and other supernatural things. Undoubtedly not integral to the ongoing story, Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country is still primo Sandman and, in many ways, precisely what Vertigo was made for all those years ago back in the ’90s.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!