Well, this month was going to be a wash for new comics, but DC managed to put out a couple new titles this week including one book from the Sandman Universe. While an old guard of retailers may not have liked the publisher’s decision to offer them the choice of using a distributor other than Diamond, even though they’ve been a bane (or devil) of the industry for years. So let’s dive into that brand new issue, which sees the finale of the Sandman Universe’s flagship title.
The Dreaming #20
(w) Si Spurrier (a) Bilquis Evely (c) Mat Lopes
After twenty issues, The Dreaming has come to its end. Though technically it’s getting relaunched as The Dreaming: Waking Hours with a new creative team, this marks the end of the road for Si Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, and Mat Lopes’ stellar run. Though this issue sees Dream finally take back control of the Dreaming, the creators make it clear that this series has really been about reestablishing this world and redefining the eccentric cast of characters that reside in it.
Though the issue may focus on the Dreaming’s ensemble cast, Dream himself shines in a multi-page sequence that sees him finally wrest control of the realm from an artificial intelligence hell-bent on eliminating feelings and emotions. In true Sandman fashion, the conflict is not resolved through fisticuffs, but an exchange of ideas and self-sacrifice. While victorious, Dream learns that the dynamics of the Dreaming have been forever changed. If Spurrier’s 20-issue story could be summed up in one word, it would be “autonomy,” which the Dreaming’s inhabitants have a newfound sense of.
Evely and Lopes’ art is not only gorgeous, but immersive and interactive by forcing readers to physically rotate the book in order to follow along. It’s a difficult technique to pull off effectively, but when done so it adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the reader’s experience. But beyond this, Evely does a really great job of combining surreal, fluid imagery that is heightened by Lopes’ combination of vibrant and pastel shades.
While it is undoubtedly sad to see this volume of The Dreaming come to a close, it is reassuring to know that the creative team was able to tell a complete story over the course of 20 issues that lives up to the standard set by Neil Gaiman in the pages of The Sandman. Following the characters of the Dreaming, from Dora to Lucien to Cain and Abel, the change in dynamics has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for those willing to dive in.