Sep 6, 2012

The Wake

Sandman Vol 10
by Neil Gaiman

Once again, I'm a bit disappointed to say that Sandman didn't quite wow me like I kept hoping it would. I feel like it's a failing on my part, though, not at all a reflection on the works.

The main part of this book is about the wake held in memory of Morpheus, for he has passed on and his son Daniel taken his place as the new Dream King. Loads of characters from the previous volumes make an appearance, quite a few which I didn't really remember well (wished I had all the previous volumes on hand to flip back to). Morpheus' previous lovers remember him in their own ways (some say a lot, others nothing at all), his family members take turns speaking, many many others have their say but most of them are just alluded to. I did chuckle at the Batman bit, and I haven't even read those, just know what I've picked up from pop culture and a few films. On the other side of this story we see the new Dream King adjusting to his new role, meeting the denizens of the realm, bringing a few servants back to life, etc. The raven gets quite a big part as he grieves Morpheus' end and tries to decide if he wants to stay on and serve the new Dream King (who proves quite soon that he's a different entity from his father, even if in the same role and now bearing the same knowledge...)

There are several shorter stories at the end, one showing Hob (still one of my favorite characters) attending a renaissance fair with his present girlfriend, and complaining about how unlike the past it really is (which made me laugh, as I've often wondered how accurate any kind of re-enactment is to what it purports to remember). Hob is disgusted by the revelry and bad pronunciations of old English (or whatever it's supposed to be) and goes off to get drunk when he meets Death who informs him of Morpheus' passing and offers him the opportunity to end his long existence as well...

Another little tale is of an old man sent into exile. While crossing a vast desert he rescues a kitten, then wanders into the outskirts of the dream realm, where he meets his dead son and then encounters the Dream King himself, has a brief conversation with him, finds his way out again. Lovely brushwork illustrations in that one.

The final story is about Shakespeare writing The Tempest (a play I really like) under Morpheus' inspiration. Interesting stuff. But still, for some reason parts of the book I enjoyed most were the eloquent introduction, and the quirky artwork at the end portraying the artists/contributors! Another thing I really do like about these books is to see how the various artists depict the same reappearing characters in their very different styles. It's really intriguing to see how I can recognize their faces and gestures even when they come from the stroke of a different artist's pen.

This is the last book in the Dream King's story arc, but I find quite a few other companion volumes listed in the back, like The Dream Hunters (which I think remains me favorite)- one that has stories featuring each of the Endless family members, another pair of volumes about his sister Dream, etc. I think I might enjoy those, so going to look for them someday.

Rating: 3/5 ......... 192 pages, 1996

more opinions:
Stella Matutina
Such a Book Nerd

1 comment:

Jenny said...

It's not a failing on your part! De gustibus non est disputandum, you like what you like. I do know what you mean really -- the series definitely has flaws, and I went into it without knowing all the hype and excitement, but just wanting to try my first graphic novel and knowing that Neil Gaiman was an author whose prose I liked. So I was kinda discovering the possibilities of the form while reading the stories, and it made it extra thrilling for me.

Hob! The Renaissance fair one is my favorite in that collection.