After a two-decade hiatus, Neil Gaiman has returned to his ground-breaking comic series, The Sandman. The first issue of The Sandman: Overture hit the shelves in late 2013 and left Gaiman fans clamoring for more. The original series, which ran from 1989 to 1996, is the story of Dream, one of the godlike beings known as the Endless. His adventures spanned time and the planes of existence, bringing him into contact with the likes of Loki, William Shakespeare, Lucifer and John Constantine.
The new series is, as the title suggests, a prequel to the original. The first series began with Dream enslaved by some mortal occultists in the early Twentieth Century. This series aims to show how such an unlikely event could have occurred.
J. H. Williams III, who is best known for his work on Alan Moore’s Promethea, has signed on to illustrate the series. So far he has captured the dream-like quality that Dave McKean and others brought the original series. He regularly juxtaposes styles and images to great effect. His drawing of a flaming Dream descending on a medieval castle is stunning.
The first issue opens on an alien world with a carnivorous plant that is dreaming of Dream, who has taken the form of a sentient plant himself. Dream then says that something is very wrong and goes to Earth to confront his deadliest creation, the Corinthian. The opening scenes are as disorienting as this description makes them sound. Like the best of the original series, this issue is as strange and beautiful as the dreams it depicts.
The first issue of course raises far more questions than it answers. It is hard to guess where the series is going, but an early appearance by the coldly-terrifying Corinthian bodes well. The second issue is slated for release in February.