Sandman: Overture #2: Endless Dreaming

Before stepping into the long delayed The Sandman: Overture #2, be forewarned. Things are going to get confusing very quickly. Neil Gaiman is not one for linear storytelling, and he never has been. Even his most A-to-Z writing for Marvel or DC included more twists and turns than any average comic. Now that Gaiman is back with Sandman, now that he’s returned to his own house… well, let’s just say that mystical shit is about to get real.


The Sandman: Overture #2


I could explain to you what happens in Overture #2, but I’m not really sure. As I said, this is not linear narrative. If I had to call it something, I’d say circular, a constantly moving series of ideas that fold back into themselves. Dream of the Endless walks away from a meeting with other keepers of the realm in order to walk Mad Hattie through the dream of an old asylum she lived in. Then we arrive in 1915, across the universe, where multiple versions of Dream of the Endless have converged, possibly because Dream has been killed. Why? Gaiman only allows us to see what’s happening through his cracked view of the story, which does not help with clarity.

Sandman is a pick your poison kind of adventure. Gaiman never attempts to tell a straight story, which gives you the option to step away. If you want something that begins in one place and ends in another, then Sandman is not for you. If you can leave that at the door, if you can embrace a Doctor Who vibe for comic books, one where reality and fantasy get all wibbly wobbly, then Sandman will be a groovy good time. You’ll have no idea what’s going on, and you brain might hurt, but it will be an experience unlike anything else in comics right now.

Bringing me to the art of J.H. Williams III. Even if you can’t stand the story, pick up Sandman: Overture for the artwork. Williams’ art is above reproach. There is nobody in comics who even comes close to what he accomplishes. Creating visuals for Sandman is no easy task. The art must be as imaginative and as non-linear as the story. Williams’ spectacular art brings in multiple ideas, switching from one segment to another, and it never feels disjointed. Williams draws the dream, complete with skewed vantages, odd dynamics, and weird jumps page to page.

Williams’ mix of watercolors, paintings, heavy inks and modern pop art is brought to life by the colors of Dave Stewart. As complex and layered as Williams’ work is, it would become a cluttered mess if the colors were not executed perfectly. Stewart understands every stroke of the art, and colors it expertly. He also understands how to create a dream world, and the combination makes Sandman very special.