The Dreaming had a phenomenal first year as it expanded and remixed the mythology of The Sandman, and year two is shaping up to be even better. Last month’s The Dreaming #14 reunited writer Simon Spurrier with his Coda collaborator, artist Matias Bergara, spotlighting why this is one of the most exciting creative partnerships in comics right now with a clever standalone tale featuring astounding visuals. The regular art team of Bilquis Evely, colorist Mat Lopes, and letterer Simon Bowland returns with this week’s The Dreaming #15, diving back into the overarching narrative about The Dreaming’s new leader and the sickness spreading across sleeping minds.
The Dreaming #15 is the first issue with the DC Black Label branding instead of Vertigo Comics, an important shift that happened last week with The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1. Vertigo is dead, even though its spirit is still very much alive in the Sandman Universe titles and Joe Hill’s new Hill House Comics imprint, which serves a very similar function to Vertigo with its mature readers horror titles. This exclusive preview of The Dreaming #15 leans into the horror with its opening scene, showing a despondent Abel slitting his own throat to fulfill the primacies of his Biblical story: to kill and to die. Evely and Lopes do chilling work in this scene, particularly the close-up shot of Abel cutting into his flesh, his face projecting pure despair as blood pours down his shirt.
The specificity of this art team’s work, not just in rendering but in emotional storytelling, brings out all of the nuances in Spurrier’s dense scripting. The two-page spread in this excerpt is a great example of how Evely and Lopes bring clarity to the fractured narrative, using different textures, colors, and panel compositions to depict four different instances of characters falling through a strange dreamscape. This creative team will be leaving The Dreaming next year as writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Nick Robles take over, but with Spurrier staying in the Sandman Universe as the writer of John Constantine: Hellblazer, it might not be long until Evely and Lopes join him to play in this sandbox again.