Published on January 9th, 2019 | by Mark McKechnie
The Dreaming #5 Review
Summary: Overall this is a great read, however, new readers will be a little lost at first.
The Dreaming takes place in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Universe. While the book is a very good read, it picks up on the heels of the previous issue, and doesn’t provide much exposition for new readers. It is very engaging, and once you get into it, it is a very swift and enjoyable book.
This book has a really interesting cover. It features a creature of the Dreaming looming in the background, with the head of an elephant and the back end of a tiger. The creature seems as though two animals blended into each other, and the greenish cast of the elephant head adds to its surreal appearance. Beneath it in the foreground is Mervyn, a farmer type character with a Jack O’ Lantern for a head. He appears unafraid of the creature behind him, almost skipping towards our point of view without a care. He is completely nonplussed by the creature that is smashing a rock outcropping and potentially about to crush him. The surreal nature of the cover fits with the title and setting of the book. Jae Lee and June Lung have done a great job on this one.
Bilquis Evely and Abigail Larson have done the interior art in this issue. The book does have a very surreal look. With characters that are human, monstrous, or a mix of both, it truly feels like a dream world. Even the terrain feels weird and ever-changing, as though it is in a state of flux. The story states that the Dreaming is in danger, that it is unstable and as a result colour is bleeding out of it. This is reflected in the colour work of the issue, and Mat Lopes and Quinton Winter do a great job of not only reflecting that, but bringing the rest of the world to life in the art, enhancing every page.
The Dreaming is written by Simon Spurrier. This issue is very well paced and despite not being the friendliest narrative wise to new readers, is still easy to get into. This is due to how well Spurrier keeps the story moving, moving from one narrative to another in a manner that fits the atmosphere of the series.
The book begins with inhabitants of the Dreaming seeking to overthrow Judge Gallows, who it appears Mervyn has had a hand in placing in control in the absence of Dream himself. These rebels soon locate a secret entrance to the Judge’s castle, seeking to catch him off guard. Little do they know he is quite prepared.
The next narrative focuses on Lucien, Dream’s librarian, and Dora, a woman seeking Dream to unlock her memories. They are in another realm, and Dora soon unlocks a jumbled mess of memories that reveal that Dream himself took or sealed away her memories. Lucien seeks his master to bring stability back to the Dreaming, and can in fact hear Dream’s narration of the story.
Overall this is a great read. New readers will be a little lost at first. However, with how the issue is paced and how well the art, colour, and lettering all blend together, it’s very easy to get into. The characters, in particular Dora and Lucien, are engaging and appear to be the heart of the issue. Artistically the book embodies the Dreaming very well, with surreal imagery, and wasted colour due to the declining nature of the world. The Vertigo line from DC does a great job of staying true to the feel of the original series in both look and overall feel.
An enjoyable book with a unique feel. 3.5 out of 5 stars.