Aug 7, 2012

The Kindly Ones

Sandman Vol 9
by Neil Gaiman

As usual, reading a Sandman volume has been a rather uneven experience for me. I could see very well that the storyline was pulling in loose threads from previous volumes, and characters reappeared that I hadn't seen since the beginning. But unfortunately since I have been borrowing these from the library I don't have the earlier volumes on hand so couldn't check back to refresh my memory of those storylines and characters that started resurfacing. So there was quite a bit that went over my head, but the main arc managed to hold my attention: Dream's realm is facing possible destruction. Wronged woman from his past comes with revenge on her mind. That creepy Corinthian guy with the teeth in his eyes goes searching for Morpheus' son (the younger one, that lives in the waking world) and the intriguingly flighty Delirium is looking for the dog she adopted from Destruction.... lots of other stuff happens, but mostly it is about this revenge being enacted, and the Dream King resigning himself to his fate- out of duty? I thought the bit about Nuala, the fairy who preferred her plain face, most touching.

One of the things I really enjoy about these volumes, strange to say, is their forwards and the after-pages that introduce the author and illustrators. The forwards are always written so eloquently and gushing with praise I'm always just a tad disappointed when I read the bulk of the pages. And the parts at the end with all the contributors are just funny. They're always uniquely bizzare and curious. This time those final pages had old-looking black and white snapshots of children with one-liner descriptions. (Another volume had hand-drawn crazily expressive portraits for each, and I can't remember the others now but they were equally amusing). I also enjoy seeing how the artwork changes with each volume- different artists depicting the now-familiar characters in their own style, but still making them quite recognizable even to me, who has trouble following who's who sometimes.

Moving on to the tenth soon.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 352 pages, 1993

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Jenny said...

Aw, the tenth. Bless the tenth. The tenth has really become my favorite of all. I miss Dream in it but I love all the stories so much. There's one with Hob Gadling that is among my top most favorite single issues in the whole series.

Whitney said...

Your blog really makes me wanna read!