This month’s Sandman Universe #1 is a good omen for Vertigo Comics’ new line of titles reviving Neil Gaiman’s Sandman mythos, bringing a talented line-up of writers and artists together to craft distinct introductions to their upcoming ongoing series. Writer Simon Spurrier, artist Bilquis Evely, and colorist Mat Lopes’ segment setting up The Dreaming is the longest chapter in that one-shot, establishing just how well these creators maintain the voice and style of The Sandman while still making this world their own.
Spurrier is known for creating sprawling fantasy worlds that he approaches from unexpected angles, and he writes dialogue that is rich with personality. He applies these skills to The Dreaming while working within parameters set by Gaiman, who worked directly with the writers to shape the overarching story of the Sandman Universe. One way The Dreaming feels like an extension of Gaiman’s perspective is that it taps into a major aspect of Gaiman’s American Gods in its exploration of how modern, technologically driven ideals conflict with classic storytelling traditions and mythology. The wild imagination of The Dreaming is threatened by a strange mass of sleek white surfaces and right angles, bringing with it a wave of faceless, mindless humanoids.
As compelling as the story is shaping up to be, the main attraction of The Dreaming is Bilquis Evely, who gets the opportunity to showcase the breadth of her creativity and strength of her linework, composition, and layouts. This exclusive preview of next week’s The Dreaming #1 is just a taste of the exceptional work Evely does on this series, and Mat Lopes matches the detail and drama of her inks with subtle texturing and bold palettes choices.
The third panel on the first page of this excerpt is an especially powerful encapsulation of the story’s central theme of loss. Showing Lucien holding his master’s helm underneath The Dreaming’s empty throne, the panel guides the reader’s eye from the lamenting Lucien to the void that puts this realm in danger, enriching the narrative through composition and coloring. The Dreaming may have lost its ruler, but moments like this show that this world is in very capable hands with this creative team.