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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Absolute Sandman, Volume 1

Author: Neil Gaiman
Reason for Reading: Graphic Novels Challenge
Rating: 5/5

Also posted at Graphic Novels Challenge

Despite it's sizable size and weight, I'm going to count this as one book for the Graphic Novel challenge, otherwise I would be done already with the challenge, and I'm certainly not ready for that. The Absolute Sandman collects issues 1-20 of the Sandman comics into a hefty collector's edition. Thank you to the Washington County Library for carrying this one, because it also carries a hefty price tag that I personnally could never afford.

Anyhow. The story opens as a group of occultists try to capture Death. Instead, they find that they have captured Dream. Unable to find a use for him and unwilling to let him go, they leave him in a prison, his guards forbidden to sleep.

Nearly 70 years pass, and the absence of Dream is being felt around the world as people fall into a mysterious sleep from which they can't wake up. Dream is one of the immortal Endless, who do not age and outlive even the gods. So he bides his time and eventually his bonds weaken. He steals out through the dreams of a guard who falls asleep. Revenge is immediate on his mind, but after condemning his captor to eternal nightmares where each waking is a new nightmare, there are important tasks to carry out. Finding his tools, which have been scattered and lost, restoring order to the inhabitants of his kingdom, and locating the ones who have strayed.

In his quest to restore his kingdom, Dream journeys across earth, and into Hell. He finds help and hindrance from an array of characters both mythological and contemporary. The Fates. The Justice League. Lucifer.

Like all the Neil Gaiman I've read so far, I loved this book. The intensity of action starts to peter off towards the end, and short, stand-alone stories emerge. I liked both, even though the action is more page-turning. A story that reveals what cats really dream about was especially amusing. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that some of the stories contain especially disturbing gory scenes. I haven't read enough comic books to compare it to any others, but there were a few parts that I kind of had to get through quickly because I'm not one who likes gore.

Even so, I rate this book very highly. Like I mentioned the other day, my brother came and read this in one night, I finished it, and then my husband read it. So for a library book, this one was put to good use. This particular collection has all of the enhancements and extras a collector's edition should have, and if you already like Sandman, it might be a great way to collect the comics.

Other reviews:

Andi of Tripping Towards Lucidity (Preludes and Nocturnes)
Chain Letters (Doll's House)
Dewey (Preludes and Nocturnes)
Debi (Preludes and Nocturnes)

If you've reviewed any of the first 4 graphic novels in the Sandman series, please let me know and I'll link you here.


Chris said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed it Kim :) This is my favorite comic series and it's how I first learned of Neil Gaiman. I own this one :/ I found it on eBay for half price brand new, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to afford it either. Of course now the next two volumes are out with the fourth on the way and I want those too! So cool that your library carries it!

Andi said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I didn't love it (as you already know), but I think it has promise, and I'm ready to try the rest of them.

Kim L said...

chris-even half price, I'm sure you forked over some good money for it. But for a lover of the series, what a great collection! And, yes, I'm lucky to have this at my public library. If only they'd get the next collections...

andi-I hope you like the next ones better! They range so much in type of story, I'm sure you'll find ones you like.

Aaron said...

I'm currently reading American Gods (just started it) and before that read Stardust. So far, I'm really enjoying him as an author. I may have to check out the Sandman stuff.

I'm still waiting for your Watchmen review! ;-)

Kim L said...

aaron-I'm glad you liked those books! You should put a review on your blog :-)

Rhinoa said...

I want this edition with them all together, you can really immerse yourself in the stories. I read volume one and two for the graphic novel challenge here and here and am looking forward to finishing the series as soon as I have some extra free time.

Alice Teh said...

I think I'm going to embark on this soon...