Neil Gaiman returns to The Sandman in Dream Country, the third volume of his lauded DC relaunch. This time the contributing artists are Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Colleen Doran, and Charles Vess.
The stories within are:
Calliope (Jones and Jones) – A struggling author named Richard Madoc comes into possession of a muse named Calliope from a former colleague of his, the successful writer Erasmus Fry. His dreams turn sour and Calliope reveals that Dream, her former lover, has things in store for him.
A Dream of a Thousand Cats (Jones and Jones) – A purebred Siamese cat mates with a stray and births a litter of undesirable kittens. After her owner kills the kittens, she meets with a cat version of Dream and makes sense of their deaths.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Vess) – A theatre troupe led by William Shakespeare stumbles along the road towards an outdoor venue to perform his new play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairies gather around to see how humans portray them to mixed reviews.
Facade (Doran and Jones) – A woman, Urania Blackwell, suffers from a condition that disfigures her body. She meets with an old acquaintance and must put on her “face” before catching up. Immortal and unable to commit suicide, she calls Death from the beyond who offers a unique solution.
This is the first volume of the series that I have felt content all the way through. That said, there was one moment with Facade where I felt out of my element (ha! punny) but when I discovered why I felt better. Urania Blackwell is Element Girl, an obscure character from the DC universe. She has skin made up of different elemental materials and this hinders her confidence. Not knowing her back story, I struggled until I realized that she was probably someone from the existing universe.
– Facade –
But the rest of these stories were killer, particularly Calliope and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I geeked out very hard for the both of them, as they both included stories that I really love. Calliope is such a sad tale, a rape survivor’s journey. Midsummer Night’s is just fun, from the concept to the art to the execution. It’s the first time where everything feels on point and everything comes together superbly. It doesn’t help that Vess, an artist whom I love, Illustrated this story:
– A Midsummer Night’s Dream –
– A Dream of a Thousand Cats –
– Calliope –
The stories are strong and the art is haunting, what more can you ask for?
5 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –