Wednesday, January 9, 2019

THE DREAMING #5 by Simon Spurrier - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: In the garden of Destiny, eyes that do not see run across paper that was never a tree. The oldest of the Endless is reading about a librarian losing his mind. About a monstress losing her soul. About a kingdom losing its king. The Dreaming is bleeding color. The grim judge tightens his grip. And in the realm of Destruction, endings are spun into beginnings...

Simon Spurrier keeps things in high gear with The Dreaming #5. This issue focuses most of its time on Lucien and Dora, who have gone to the abandoned realm of Destruction looking for help in their quest to find Dream, stabilize the Dreaming, and defeat Judge Gallows. The other part of the issue deals with the major Arcana dreams of the Dreaming attacking Judge Gallows, who has set up his seat of power in Dream's castle.

I'm finding myself more and more interested in Dora, both who she is and who she was (and maybe who she is becoming?). Spurrier has set her up as the main character, and I believe when Dora recovers her memory (she took a step in that direction in this issue), then we will know what is happening in the Dreaming, and possible where Dream is and why he is there. There is also a major event happening with Lucien that seems like it will also play a major part in the story. I'm sorry for such a vague summary, but I really don't want to give anything away.

As far as Judge Gallows and his battle with the residents of the Dreaming, I'm just kind of waiting for it to end. It hasn't engaged me that much, and it feels like it's starting to be drawn out. Hopefully, the final confrontation with Judge Gallows is coming soon, and then the story can move on to other things.

I have two observations about Spurrier's writing. First, I think he is capturing, not necessarily Neil Gaiman's voice, but Gaiman's themes as The Dreaming progresses. I had my doubts early on, but these last couple of issues just feel more like what I expect from a Sandman comic. Second, Spurrier is adding tremendous depth to the characters of Lucien and Dora. Each issue adds more layers, and this is serving to make them better characters, and definitely more sympathetic characters. My only fear is that Spurrier will completely erase/upend Gaiman's foundation. There were some events in issue #5 that may be pointing towards a repeat of things from the original Sandman series; I don't want that, I want something new that builds on the original ideas. I also don't want a "fresh re-imagining" of the Sandman universe. I doesn't need nor warrant a reboot. Please don't head in that direction.

At this point, I'm fully hooked in the story Simon Spurrier is telling in The Dreaming, and I highly recommend issue #5. Grab it now, and then hold your breath waiting for issue #6 to come out.

I received a preview copy of this book from Vertigo and DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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