THE DREAMING VOLUME 1: PATHWAYS AND EMANATIONS / WRITER: VARIOUS / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: DC VERTIGO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
In the pantheon of comic book worlds out there in existence, none are as rich and complex as the Sandman realm created by the iconic Neil Gaiman. It’s utterly surreal to think that Gaiman first introduced readers to the world of Dream a ridiculous 30 years ago, but this legendary writer is now back to oversee some new adventures within the Sandman universe – beginning with Pathways and Emanations.
With four intertwining stories from a writing team of Gaiman, Si Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters, with art from Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Domo Stanton, Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara, this first volume offers up a great chance for fresh eyes to take the plunge into the oft-intimidating world of Sandman. Across these stories, we find that the very fundamentals of The Dreaming have been thrown into disarray as Daniel – aka the Lord of Dreams – has decided to up sticks and leave his kingdom behind. Told largely through the presence of Matthew the Raven, we’re taken through four vastly different landscapes and situations that are feeling the fall-out of this chaos.
Complete with some truly wondrous artwork, Matthew takes readers to the despair-laced confines of The Dreaming, to the gods and monsters of New Orleans, to the corridors of a magic-infused school, and we even stop off to catch up with a blind Lucifer. With each passing page, we see a world brought to ruin all because of the choices of one man. Pathways and Emanations really is a fascinating restart for the Sandman lore, as we see what can happen when people become some reliant on the decisions and whims of one sole figure.
As alluded to earlier, the intensity and detail of Sandman is something that has maybe at times had casual comics fans unsure of just how and when to dive into this world. With Vol. 1 of The Dreaming, Gaiman and his team have given those people the perfect jumping-in point, and the stories told here are indeed detailed, yet they are delivered in a way that makes them feel easily accessible and constantly engaging.
Many die-hard fans may have been a tad cautious about returning to the Sandman universe, yet, if Pathways and Emanations is anything to go by, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Staying true to what you’d expect from a classic Sandman story, there are familiar faces and locales dotted throughout this new tale, helping this collection of stories strike a chord with both old and new readers.
Simply put, if you’ve ever enjoyed Sandman or wanted to explore this magical world, The Dreaming Volume 1: Pathways and Emanations is guaranteed to be a must-read release for you.