My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An interstitial tale to the Sandman universe: a wiley fox spirit falls in love with a monk after her tricks to drive him out of his temple backfire. When she learns of a secret plot to kill the monk, she takes the risk of saving his life herself, with some help from the King of Dreams. When the monk finds the unresponsive fox, he too travels to Morpheus’s realm in order to save her. The monk takes responsibility for his delayed fate & the fox seeks out the powerful magician who robbed her of her love.
I’m just now getting to this and The Sandman: Endless Nights after having read The Sandman: Overture; as supplemental stories, these two volumes weren’t high in my priorities. So reading DH now is particularly telling after learning more about Dream’s various dysfunctional relationships. Matthew’s question to his master, “Have you learned anything?” carries an extra level of weight and Dream’s supposedly cold observation of the fox & the monk really had me feeling sorry for him.
The story itself here is crafted like a classic fable–a story of truth amid illusions, unexpected love, revenge & loss. The art by P. Craig Russell adds depth to the text as well. Dream’s robe is particularly mesmerizing, like a frieze or an urn that still evokes much despite its history. Also, just speaking from a technical standpoint, Russell draws faces & hands with a fine balance of economy & expression. Overall, Dream Hunters is a beautiful & well-executed addition to the series.