Having never read any of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman stories prior to having The Sandman: Overture #1 Special Edition land on my desk, I guess I have a bit of a unique perspective. While Gaiman’s books are highly praised, and this new mini-series came with a lot of hype, I have to say this debut issue underwhelmed me. If you have no previous knowledge of The Sandman’s lore before picking up this book, you’ll likely be as lost as I was.
While J.H. Williams III’s art is well-done and fits the theme, the story presented here felt very incoherent, as if stumbling drunk into a theater in the middle of a film and wondering what the hell is going on and who the characters are. But this is book number one. It feels like book number six. Gaiman seems to assume that anyone picking up this book has an encyclopedic knowledge of the world, and this book feels as pretentious as that sentiment. While the artwork and writing do a solid job of invoking the trippy horror vibe they’re obviously going for, I can only hope that the following issues do a much better job of explaining the story and characters, namely Dream, his siblings and the ultra-creepy Corinthian.
This being the Special Edition of The Sandman: Overture #1, the book offers an interview with the artist, as well as some interesting extras such as his notes while reading the script and the music playlist he listened to while drawing the artwork. The issue also features a variant cover, translucent word bubbles, and the original uncolored artwork to better showcase William’s sketchings. These Special Edition books will be released the following month after the original issues hit the shelves.
Overall, I was intrigued by The Sandman: Overture during the first few pages, but intrigue quickly turned to confusion, followed by disappointment. Hopefully Gaiman can pull me back in with Overture #2, which has unfortunately just been delayed until February.