Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Sandman: Overture, Issue #2

The Sandman: Overture, #2The Sandman: Overture, #2 by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sandman Overture #2 starts bringing together the pieces of the story laid out in issue #1. The time jumps in the story now extend forward to include Daniel Hall as the current incarnation of Dream & reveal small consequences that hint at what happened. The most enjoyable thing of Overture so far is Gaiman’s use of the prequel to deepen the readers’ understanding of Dream’s world. The “concatenation of Dreams” not only grants insight into Dream’s incarnations but also hints to Despair’s own backstory & Dream’s dealings with Lyta Hall. I felt a sense of completeness reading this issue–the convergence of Dreams is also a celebration of Gaiman’s character. Dream argues with himself repeatedly before addressing himself, “Am I always like this? “Self-satisfied. Irritating. Self-possessed, and unwilling to concede center stage to anyone but myself?” When one of his selves answers yes, he responds, “Ah. Fascinating.” Classic.

With this being my first time reading Sandman as a comic (instead of a graphic novel), I also enjoyed holding the issues side-by-side & comparing the design elements of each page. A distinct series of shapes open & close each series. Story elements line up too: two pages of panels that take place against the Corinthian’s teeth from issue #1 match another two pages in issue #2 that arrange panels around viscera braided with disembodied mouths. Dream’s discussion of the rules made by “the First Circle” is Overture #1 sync up with the same section in issue #2 where Dream brings up invoking the First Circle when his selves are in conflict. One illustrative choice I keep coming back to is the representation of Shekinah (the Glory of God) as male. Shekinah, in Jewish tradition, is female. On the other hand, this symbol of Glory stays stable while Dream’s personas dance erratically around it, giving a reader plenty to ponder over.

Mysterious, compelling, & lovely, I can’t wait for the next issue to come out!

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