Image © DC Entertainment. Story by Neil Gaiman, written by Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters. Illustrated by Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike Stanton, Max Fumara and Sebastian Fumara. Colors by Mat Lopes, letters by Simon Bowland.

A lot of credits on this intro issue for the Sandman Universe series of four revamped titles: THE DREAMING, HOUSE OF WHISPERS, LUCIFER and BOOKS OF MAGIC. I should say up front, I’m lettering BOOKS OF MAGIC, so I won’t be reviewing that, but I didn’t letter its section in this book. In fact, I hadn’t seen it until now.

This is a gallery story in which the framing tale leads the reader into previews of the four new books, as we follow the raven Matthew in and out of each. The frame and opening section is a preview of THE DREAMING, and I’ve just read and reviewed the first issue. Its section here is just as appealing visually, and I continue to like the way familiar characters such as Lucien, Merv Pumpkinhead and Matthew are handled. The overall story is by Neil Gaiman, though I don’t find any text in the book that sounds particularly like Neil, so I suspect he contributed only an outline or plot. I could be wrong. Si Spurrier is writing THE DREAMING, and that section reads very much like the first issue. The new character Dora makes her first appearance, and I liked her a bit better in this book. In the BOOKS OF MAGIC preview, we see the introduction of Dr. Rose, and the gifting by her to Tim Hunter of the magic book. Dr. Rose now seems more sinister to me than she seemed in issue 1. The preview would have prompted me to read the series if I wasn’t lettering it. The HOUSE OF WHISPERS preview did not interest me much, I’m sorry to say, nor did the LUCIFER one, but the conclusion of the DREAMING sequence was again quite good. As a sampler, this accomplishes its main goal. I wish all the samples were equally appealing to me, but perhaps they will be to you.

I particularly liked the fact that the digital version I read included all the variant covers, even if I generally don’t like the idea of variant covers. Some were superb.


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