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'The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly' #1 review
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‘The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly’ #1 review

Witness the epic journey of Thessaly through the eyes of a script reader from Hollywood.

Richness of storytelling is a big reason why The Sandman Universe is so entertaining and complex. It’s a theme that runs throughout the series, and it’s a major element of The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly, a new one-shot by James Tynion IV and Maria Llovet.

If you like Llovet’s work, you will love this issue. Her unique, hand-drawn style draws you in with a sultriness. When the main character’s boss touches her, you feel creeped out, or when a severed head pops into the story, your skin will crawl. There’s something deeply human and realistic about her style that suits this story.

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Two lives cross in this story: our main character, who works for a firm in Hollywood that expects treatments on time, and the ancient witch, Thessaly. The way their lives cross is compelling, partly because Thessaly is aware that a Hollywood outfit expecting treatment could become a problem for her. The power of stories runs underneath everything in this issue, and it’s interesting to see how it is used. A screenwriter enters the tale to write the treatment, for instance, and he’s used by the witch and abused. At the same time, our protagonist is being abused by those in her life and wants some control.

A question arises from Thessaly to the protagonist about what she wants. A deal must be made, but for our main character, how do you know what you want in a life where you’re ignored or used because you always seem to go along with things? I imagine many reading this story will find comfort in knowing a character like them is on the page.

'The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly' #1 review

This is also a story about relationships.
Credit: DC Comics

Thessaly is an ongoing character in the Sandman Universe, and seeing her story progress is nice. Some familiar characters pop up, but the most intriguing element as a Sandman fan is beginning to realize that Thessaly’s plan is coming into focus. This is also a comic you need to have patience with taking in all the details and taking time with every page. It feels immersive, but only if you let it.

Andworld Design’s lettering also stands out in this issue, with cutaways to prose pages. One has a medieval style with borders and a pretty look with weathered-looking paper. Another is like the pages from an old book, while yet another is a screenshot of a screenplay being written on a computer. The format in which we write stories has changed, but the stories themselves continue.

The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly is a love letter to prose, screenwriting, and storytelling. It’s also a pretty good story about a witch who has lived for centuries. This is a story about belonging, and yet Thessaly learns from a woman who belongs to no one and she is far worse off. Rich and narratively compelling, don’t pass on this one!

'The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly' #1 review
‘The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly’ #1 review
The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly #1
The Sandman Universe Special: Thessaly is a love letter to prose, screenwriting, and storytelling. It's also a pretty good story about a witch who has lived for centuries. This is a story about belonging, and yet Thessaly learns from a woman who belongs to no one and she is far worse off. Rich and narratively compelling, don't pass on this one!
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Compelling story for fans of the creators and Sandman
An interesting exploration of storytelling through prose and comics
Not for the impatient reader and it also requires some knowledge of the Sandman universe to truly appreciate it
9.5
Great
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