Sweet GODS, yes.
Oh this is exactly what I wanted. A stroll back in time. A return to form. A mystery unsolved that feels as if it shall be unsolvable and so many familiar faces.
Welcome back, Lord Dream of the Endless.
For those unfamiliar, SU is meant to be a kick start, much like DC's Rebirth one shot. We are reintroduced to the world of the Endless and the characters that populate The Dreaming while setting up for the eventual split into 4 titles. The Dreaming will cover the supporting cast of The Dreaming and their quest to find Lord Dream. House of Whispers will be about a house that is the sister to the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets. The Books Of Magic returns where it left off with protagonist Timothy Hunter. The final title to spin out of this 1 shot will be Lucifer, featuring a much different version of the devil himself than we are accustomed to seeing recently.
Neil Gaiman serves as the "story by" in this one while it's written by those taking over the spin-offs - Dan Watters (Lucifer), Kat Howard (Books of Magic), Nalo Hopkinson (House of Whispers) and Si Spurrier (The Dreaming). The art in this 1 shot will primarily be Bilquis Evely (The Dreaming) along with Sebastian and Max Fiumara (Lucifer), Tom Fowler (Books of Magic), Domonike Stanton (House of Whispers). You get a great overall story here, which you expect from Gaiman, while experiencing a little flavor and intrigue for each of the upcoming series.
We could spend an hour on the covers alone. There are so many covers to go with the landmark launch of this Sandman Universe. With the main cover from the phenomenal Jae Lee already being a stunner, DC went out and got artists with a tie to Sandman to round out the variants. Jill Thompson, Sam Keith, P. Craig Russell and more are all here along with the artist possibly most associated with Sandman covers, David Mack. Check out the cover gallery below, courtesy of DC Comics:
Some things that stood out that I loved? THE LANGUAGE!! It's still very much Gaiman's world and Vertigo is letting it be what it was meant to be, real. Another thing I truly enjoyed is that this is clearly meant for readers of the original series. You get enough explanation, you get enough refreshers of some of the more obscure things being reference but the writers do expect a level of familiarity from the readers. I love that because I wanted to get the better taste for what's coming next instead of looking backwards.
I refuse to go too deep into the plot here, as these stories are meant to set the table for larger tales. In that regard, it is a massive success. These snippets of threads long thought forgotten absolutely entice me to want more. This is a well done bit of tinder to light a larger flame.
I may be too much of a fan here, I'll be honest. Gaiman's Sandman is my all time favorite comic. It's one that I often use to get "non-comic" friends into the genre. But this feels like a pitch perfect return to the world I love so much, along with the idea of incredible expansion.
FINAL RATING: 10/10 Ravens Just Know
The Sandman Universe #1 is an incredible return to form for one of comic's most celebrated characters. All 4 of these Universe books are now set up nice and pretty on my pull list and I expect they'll find a spot on every fan of Gaiman's original run. Absolutely in love with this book along the lines of Johns' Rebirth just a few years ago.