Review: The Sandman: Overture #1

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sandmanThe story people have been waiting 25 years to read finally hit comic book shops this week. Neil Gaiman tells the story about how Morpheus was able to be captured so easily in The Sandman. Joining Gaiman on The Sandman: Overture #1 is artist J.H. Williams III, Dave Stewart on colors and Todd Klein on lettering. So does the start to the prequel miniseries live up to the original?

I’m not doing this like one of my usual reviews because this isn’t a usual comic. You can’t really do an overview of a Gaiman story without giving the entire game away, so we’ll talk around it. Gaiman gives us a story that shows us what Morpheus was up to before he was called away to the battle that weakened him enough to be captured by some would-be magicians in the original series. He shows us characters like Destiney, Death, the Corinthian, Merv Pumpkinhead (who has a fantastic reintroduction scene), Lucien the librarian, and a few other characters along the way. Gaiman presents some incredibly poetic and heavy writing that fits right in step with the original series.

While Gaiman has a triumphant return to the world of The Sandman, it’s J.H. Williams III that steals the show. The art in this issue is absolutely stunning. Williams has always been a great artist, but this is really next level stuff. The imagery, imagination, and just sheer amount of detail is mind boggling. I can honestly say this is one of the most visually stunning books in recent memory. The four-page spread toward the end of the issue uses the page well. A lot of times these foldouts are nothing more than a gimmick that offers up a cool picture, but Williams uses it in a thematic way that furthers the story. Williams puts on a display, but he’s helped out by Stewart’s colors. The pallet goes from bright and vibrant to black and white. It’s the perfect complement to Williams work. You could write a thesis on this issue, but we’ve waxed lyrical enough.

Bottom Line: Overture is just that, a piece of music. Sandman took a while to pick up steam when it first came out, but now with the passage of time people realized how revolutionary and important it was. The good thing about Overture is that it doesn’t have to try and find an audience and what it has to say is important. If Gaiman and Williams keep even half the quality of the first issue with the rest of the series, this is going to be something special. 5/5

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