Hot Best Seller

The Wake

Availability: Ready to download

When a Dream ends, there is only one thing left to do... THE WAKE In which the repercussions of the Death of Lord Morpheus are felt, and, in an epilogue, William Shakespeare learns the price of getting what you want. This is the tenth and final volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, described by author Mikal Gilmore in his introduction as "nothin When a Dream ends, there is only one thing left to do... THE WAKE In which the repercussions of the Death of Lord Morpheus are felt, and, in an epilogue, William Shakespeare learns the price of getting what you want. This is the tenth and final volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, described by author Mikal Gilmore in his introduction as "nothing less than a popular culture masterpiece, and a work that is braver, smarter and more meaningful than just about anything "high culture" has produced during the same period." Reprints issues #70-75.


Compare

When a Dream ends, there is only one thing left to do... THE WAKE In which the repercussions of the Death of Lord Morpheus are felt, and, in an epilogue, William Shakespeare learns the price of getting what you want. This is the tenth and final volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, described by author Mikal Gilmore in his introduction as "nothin When a Dream ends, there is only one thing left to do... THE WAKE In which the repercussions of the Death of Lord Morpheus are felt, and, in an epilogue, William Shakespeare learns the price of getting what you want. This is the tenth and final volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, described by author Mikal Gilmore in his introduction as "nothing less than a popular culture masterpiece, and a work that is braver, smarter and more meaningful than just about anything "high culture" has produced during the same period." Reprints issues #70-75.

30 review for The Wake

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

    A weak ending for such impressive series Creative Team: Writer: Neil Gaiman Illustrators: Michael Zulli, Charles Vess, & Joe J Muth Covers: Dave McKean Letterer: Todd Klein DREAM OF A FUNERAL AND... Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action? This final volume (from the regular series while there are still some other TPBs yet to read about) is dedicated by Gaiman to Dave McKean for his amazing work doing the cov/> A weak ending for such impressive series Creative Team: Writer: Neil Gaiman Illustrators: Michael Zulli, Charles Vess, & Joe J Muth Covers: Dave McKean Letterer: Todd Klein DREAM OF A FUNERAL AND... Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action? This final volume (from the regular series while there are still some other TPBs yet to read about) is dedicated by Gaiman to Dave McKean for his amazing work doing the covers of all single comic book issues of the original publishing of the series. I think that that it’s quite adecuated and deserved. What I found curious is that Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg, artists involved in the creation of the series and they are acknowledge for it, that they weren’t here, in the final song of the party. I swore I would never shed another tear for him. The ending of the regular series of The Sandman is here and you have to attend to a funeral. Basically the whole volume is about that, and even so, it isn’t, since a big part of the TPB is used in extra stories post-ending. While it’s written in such wonderful way, with great prose, honestly I found this final volume quite weak and not the way that I’d expected that this series would end. It’s kinda contradictory, since while the previous volume, The Kindly Ones, I found it unnecessarily long, here in, The Wake, I considered it unexpectedly short. The King is dead. Long Live the King. Obviously you can’t lengthen a funeral more than what it’s done here, but again, you are left with undeveloped elements of the story, like a very, very, VERY important “first” meeting and at least one day or one “first story” after the funeral to feel the change in thrones’ styles since it’s quite obvious that the “new” king will manage things in a different way, better? Maybe. Worse? Unlikely, but possible. Again, I’d like to read about that “first” day in the job, a “first” challenge. You get kinda something like it in one of the extra stories but hardly it’s what I’d like to see about it. Everybody’s here. You’re here. And Gaiman wasn’t kidding, since definitely everybody is on the funeral, even you and me, and everybody who is reading the story. Obviously there are people speaking on the funeral, a few words to express their feeling for the one who is “away”. But I felt kinda cheated since the most important character to know what she has to tell, you can’t hear it, just guessing, and honestly, besides the huge respect that I have for the author, I thought that instead an artistic choice of not putting that words in the prose, I thought more that it was fear of not matching the expectations of readers since definitely that speech can be the mother (or it should be “sister”?) of all speeches, and so, instead of taking the challenge, the narrative took the easy road just “commenting” that the speech is done instead of actually printing the words. Ironically, it was like “cheating death”. I lived a good life and it ended. Would you take that away from me? One of the highlights and easily the strongest analyzed issue is about Life and Death, and since it’s impossible to deny that The Sandman is a comic book, it’s obvious the power after all the arguments exposed along the volume about dying and returning to life. Since, for better or worse, in comic books, almost nobody remains dead too long. Is it really a good thing that after having “a good death” getting back from it? If so, are they really the same ones who died before? But, honestly, the greatest story ever told is about resurrection, so, how can they be blamed to try to make their own angles about that topic that changed the world? I had good dreams along the journey of this series and finally I am... ...awake. But, obviously, there will be time to dream again...

  2. 4 out of 5

    MischaS_

    Brilliant. So my review that took me really long to write somehow got deleted... :( Hate that. (Actually, it almost got lost for the second time, thankfully I was smarter this time and copied it.) So, this is it? The end? It seems almost...sad. But definitely strange. Like I should hold a wake. Or maybe I already did. "Everybody’s here. You’re here." "You were there." I finally got to the point that I could finish this series. And this remains my favourite comics series and the Brilliant. So my review that took me really long to write somehow got deleted... :( Hate that. (Actually, it almost got lost for the second time, thankfully I was smarter this time and copied it.) So, this is it? The end? It seems almost...sad. But definitely strange. Like I should hold a wake. Or maybe I already did. "Everybody’s here. You’re here." "You were there." I finally got to the point that I could finish this series. And this remains my favourite comics series and the best thing Neil Gaiman ever created. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a hard time remembering what happened at the end of the previous part but thankfully I managed to remember enough to enjoy this one. "The king is dead, that's what they say. The king is dead. Long live the king.” I was a bit disappointed by the ending because I expected something truly amazing that would blow me away but the rhythm of this one was slightly off. However, I still really enjoyed it. At first, I thought that it should have ended right after the wake, the other stories seemed wrong. But then I realised it just really makes sense. “Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action?" "Then what died? who are you mourning?" "A point of view.” I hope that one day I will be able to re-read this series and it will be like remembering a long time forgotten dream. “That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    This is the final volume–if you exclude the prequel—of the Sandman series, but it is really more coda than conclusion. Half of it consists of the “wake” itself (Morpheus’ wak, funeral services, and related events) and the other half of three stand-alone tales that provide a philosophical commentary on the life and death of Dream. The wake itself will be a moving and interesting for most faithful reader of the series, as we reacquaint ourselves with most of the characters we remember—and a few we This is the final volume–if you exclude the prequel—of the Sandman series, but it is really more coda than conclusion. Half of it consists of the “wake” itself (Morpheus’ wak, funeral services, and related events) and the other half of three stand-alone tales that provide a philosophical commentary on the life and death of Dream. The wake itself will be a moving and interesting for most faithful reader of the series, as we reacquaint ourselves with most of the characters we remember—and a few we have forgotten about entirely. At times these first three numbers feel like the final chapters of a long Victorian novel, but that is not in any way a criticism; it is pleasing to observe each small part—and person—falling discretely into place. The second three numbers, though, I liked even better. The first (“An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning") features Hob Gadling, the Renaissance Englishman made immortal by Dream, and his experience at a U.S. Renaissance fair. Hob meets up with Death, has a dream about Dream, and tells us all the reasons why he hates Renfair. (As any good renaissance man should!) The second tale (“Exiles”) features an encounter between Morpheus and an old Chinese civil servant. It has much to say about duty, and the death of sons, and causes the reader of The Sandman to think of the death of Orpheus. The last tale (“The Tempest”) is about Shakespeare and the writing of his final play, and makes a fitting conclusion to series. I loved the series, hated to see it come to an end, and am already experiencing withdrawal. Luckily, I still have Overture, the prequel!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    An appropriately contemplative denouement for a series that, when considered as a whole, suggests that Neil Gaiman is either: 1) A certified genius whose ability to blend myth, folklore, imagination, social issues, and pop culture puts him at the absolute apex of storytelling masters working today, regardless of medium; or 2) An authentic whacko whose ingestion of psychotropic fungus is of such heroically epic proportions that it would slay an entire army of genetically engineered gia An appropriately contemplative denouement for a series that, when considered as a whole, suggests that Neil Gaiman is either: 1) A certified genius whose ability to blend myth, folklore, imagination, social issues, and pop culture puts him at the absolute apex of storytelling masters working today, regardless of medium; or 2) An authentic whacko whose ingestion of psychotropic fungus is of such heroically epic proportions that it would slay an entire army of genetically engineered giant yaks with enough psilocybin left over to enable a tone deaf monkey to produce a musical output that would put the Grateful Dead to shame. Frankly, I’d wager even money on either, and there’s a distinct possibility that both are true. Sandman is unlike anything else I’ve ever read before of similar length; while its 75 issues do encompass a consistent narrative thread, it veers off in different directions and with different characters in a way that’s very different from, say, Preacher or Transmetropolitan. I’m not sure there are many other writers—and perhaps Gaiman is the only one—who could pull off the trick without losing the audience, and even with Gaiman’s superhuman narrative prowess, Sandman makes for a challenging read. But, it’s also a worthwhile one, and if the concluding volume of the series saunters a bit slowly, it’s an appropriate tempo, as your brain needs a little time to digest the diversity of story that has preceded it and process the fact that it’s all coming to a close. I read the first volume of Sandman about 15 years ago and was utterly perplexed; I didn’t pick up the second volume until a few months ago. I’m glad I waited before taking that plunge—I’m not sure I could have appreciated it then the way that I do now. If you haven’t yet taken a trip (or, perhaps, gone tripping) with Mr. Gaiman and a slew of talented artists, I highly recommend it (no pun intended).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    a word of warning : might be a major spoiler to read on if you don't know what went on in the previous volume ( The Kindly Ones ). (view spoiler)[ Morpheus dies, and is replaced as the incarnation of Dream by Daniel. (hide spoiler)] The Wake is a farewell, a last gathering of all the oddball characters that accompanied us into the realm of the Lord of Dreaming, but also a celebration of the power of imagination. Sadness prevails, inevitably, at saying( a word of warning : might be a major spoiler to read on if you don't know what went on in the previous volume ( The Kindly Ones ). (view spoiler)[ Morpheus dies, and is replaced as the incarnation of Dream by Daniel. (hide spoiler)] The Wake is a farewell, a last gathering of all the oddball characters that accompanied us into the realm of the Lord of Dreaming, but also a celebration of the power of imagination. Sadness prevails, inevitably, at saying goodbye to the Endless family, to the denizens of the Dreaming( Matthew, Cain, Eve, Corinthian, the librarian, the pumpkinhead, etc), to the mortals caught up in the drama and to the mythological creatures - gods, demons, angels, elves, chimaeras that fill in the halls of mourning for a last homage to Morpheus. But the story itself is endless, and the epitaph is one of the best quotes in the series : Only the Phoenix rises and never descends. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost. Some personages merit their own single issue, and I feel the author and the editors saved the best for last, both in terms of the artwork (Michael Zulli may be my favorite guest artist in the whole series) and in content: An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning features Hob Gadling in a contemporary setting, grumbling about the cheap, fake atmosphere of Renaissance fairs. He should know, he was there to witness the smelly, ugly, diseases ridden epoch at first hand. Insead of meeting Morpheus for a glass of ale, he meets with his sister (you know, the one who always dresses in black) and wonders what's the point of being immortal. Exiles is a return to the deserts of Asia, a place where the barrier between worlds and timelines is very thin. I loved the stark, Chinese ink and brush graphics and lettering by Jon Muth. The story is of an elderly adviser to the Celestial Emperor, sent into exile for connections with a rebellion. It is also about second chances, and how it is never to late to start life anew. The Tempest is a companion piece to A Midsummer Night Dream, two plays commissioned by Morpheus from the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon. Less about the actual play, and more about the condition of the artist, about the power of stories, about legacies and endings - it is easy to see why Gaiman has chosen it for closing the collection. “Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I'd fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, 'So this is how it feels,' and I would tie it up in pretty words. I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt, but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss. My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled. For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of The Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.” Somehow I can't believe I've come to the end and there are no more journeys into alternate worlds of myth and wonder, time travels to meet with Marco Polo or the Roman Emperor Augustus, Harun al Rashid or William Shakespeare. I know there are spin-offs, and I will probably get around to reading them sometime, but I don't think it will be quite the same as the original run. Oh, well, everything changes, and nothing stays the same. And that's the true beauty of it all: it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    I thoroughly enjoyed this series and I'm quite sad that it's over.I've been reading the books since September and I've never read such creative, interesting, philosophical graphic novels with such great characters. It was interesting to see all the stories come together in the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Probably 4.5 stars. I really loved this until the final piece The Tempest. I wasn't a big fan of that section. I think I might like it more on a re-read for meaning, but it was a bit lackluster on first impression compared to the emotion of the other sections. However I'm rounding up to 5 stars because Gaiman. “Just remember, what the French say. No, probably not the French, they've got a president or something. The Brits, maybe, or the Swedes. You know what I mean?" "No, Matthew./>“Just Probably 4.5 stars. I really loved this until the final piece The Tempest. I wasn't a big fan of that section. I think I might like it more on a re-read for meaning, but it was a bit lackluster on first impression compared to the emotion of the other sections. However I'm rounding up to 5 stars because Gaiman. “Just remember, what the French say. No, probably not the French, they've got a president or something. The Brits, maybe, or the Swedes. You know what I mean?" "No, Matthew. What do they say?" "The king is dead, that's what they say. The king is dead. Long live the king.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    The final volume in the Sandman series is a bit odd, and I'm wavering between giving it 3 and 4 stars. The first half of the book deals with the wake held for Morpheus, and is rather touching and satisfactory wrap-up to the series. The final half, however, seem anticlimatic and out of place. The issues about Hob and Shakespeare do have an "end" feeling to them and appropriately concludes their stories that were started in earlier volumes, but I'm not sure what the issue about the exiled advisor The final volume in the Sandman series is a bit odd, and I'm wavering between giving it 3 and 4 stars. The first half of the book deals with the wake held for Morpheus, and is rather touching and satisfactory wrap-up to the series. The final half, however, seem anticlimatic and out of place. The issues about Hob and Shakespeare do have an "end" feeling to them and appropriately concludes their stories that were started in earlier volumes, but I'm not sure what the issue about the exiled advisor to the Chinese emperor is doing here. In any case, although it's not the best volume, its first half is very well done.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Sandman, Vol 10: The Wake: Incredible artwork and a moving coda Don't read this unless you've already read the previous volumes. It's the last volume of the epic SANDMAN saga, and one of my favorites. You’d think that it being a wake, a celebration and remembrance of the passing of someone, I found it filled with not only with melancholy, but an equal amount of empathy and gentle humor at the lives of all beings both mortal and immortal, god or faithful companion. It also has, by far, the mo Sandman, Vol 10: The Wake: Incredible artwork and a moving coda Don't read this unless you've already read the previous volumes. It's the last volume of the epic SANDMAN saga, and one of my favorites. You’d think that it being a wake, a celebration and remembrance of the passing of someone, I found it filled with not only with melancholy, but an equal amount of empathy and gentle humor at the lives of all beings both mortal and immortal, god or faithful companion. It also has, by far, the most radiant and evocative artwork of the entire series, courtesy of Michael Zulli, which really blew me away with its incredible range of detail in both character expressions and background. Why was he not asked to participate earlier? It almost made up for the dreadful artwork done by Marc Hempel in Vol 9: The Kindly Ones, which almost ruined my enjoyment of that climactic story arc. If you have read all the previous volumes, you know by know who this wake is for. It has been foreshadowed throughout the series, especially at the end of Vol 8: Worlds’ End, and explored in detail in Vol 9. So what is left to tell? A lot, as it turns out. With the passing of one aspect of Dream, namely Morpheus, a new aspect takes on the duties of Dream, the young child Daniel. He declines the name of Morpheus, content to be called Dream, and this volume details his experiences as he deals with the aftermath of Morpheus’ passing, the huge host of mourners and well-wishes, reviving many of Morpheus’ loyal servants, and finally meeting his siblings for the first time, if that makes sense. As he says, “This is very new to me, Matthew. This place, this world. I have existed since the beginning of time. This is a true thing. I am older than worlds and suns and gods. But tomorrow I will meet my brother and sisters for the first time. And I am afraid.” One of the best relationships is between Matthew, who is still deeply upset that Morpheus chose to face his death at the Furies’ hands alone, and the new Dream, who is just getting his bearings. Matthew does not feel he owes anything to Dream, and wishes to have died along with Morpheus, but when he sees how much help the new Dream will need to assume his duties, his attitude changes. The young Dream is so vulnerable and unsure of himself, which is beautifully conveyed by the artwork of Michael Zulli, who gives him a younger appearance but the same deep black pools of eternity for eyes, with that spark of life and intelligence. Each time he speak with someone known from his former aspect, he pauses as if to retrieve their info from his inherited memories, and then act accordingly. The tone of the story has shifted completely, as all the beings and former lovers of dream who bore grudges have gotten what they wished for. Now everyone seems contrite and solemn, as it it was all done in a pique of madness. And yet we know just how inevitable those events were, as did Morpheus and the Furies themselves, along with his brother Destiny. The question arises, why is there a wake if Dream lives on. Cain answers, “Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an an action?” During the wake we again meet so many of the people touched by Morpheus, including former lovers like Calliope, the mother of Orpheus, the faerie Nuala, even Queen Titania of Faerie. Then there is Lyta Hall, the mother of Daniel who triggered the whole crisis in her mistaken quest for vengeance, as well as Rose Walker whose story was told in Vol 2: The Doll’s House. We even get some surprising revelations from the witch Thessaly. Finally Morpheus’ siblings speak of him at the wake, each in their own unique way, and their behavior is quite funny. The new Dream is not allowed to attend the ceremony, but receives a very unexpected visitor to his castle instead. I loved their conversation, it just opens up so many interesting possibilities. Matthew the raven and Death, Morpheus’ sister, give some very touching tributes. It really feels like a proper remembrance. And there is a final meeting between Lyta and the new Dream, who was her son Daniel, and much of import is discussed. But this last volume contains more. The next segment is on my favorites, called “An Epilogue - Sunday Morning”. This is one of the most humorous sequences in the whole series, centered on the seemingly immortal man Hob Gadling, who is attending a Renaissance Fair with his black girlfriend Gwen. He goes by Robbie, and having actually lived through those dirty, grim, and altogether barbaric times, the whole cheapness and lack of authenticity puts him in a foul and antagonistic mood. There is nothing worse than a foul-tempered Englishman who gets deep in his cups, which is exactly what happens. His comments to the fair participants are priceless, especially with the server wench. But when he takes a brief break in an abandoned building, he encounters someone who suddenly puts it all in perspective for him. It’s quite a chilling sequence, not least because the artwork is absolutely incredible, conveying complex emotions via the characters’ expressions with a subtlety I have rarely seen before. The dialogue too is filled with deep insights delivered with such ease - some of Gaiman’s best work, in my opinion. Then Gaiman gives us a little gem called “Exiles”, about a Chinese elder who has served as advisor to the Emperor and enjoyed great success, only to lose it all and face exile across a desert at the far corner of the empire. This happens because of the actions of his son, which enraged the emperor. Astute Sandman fans will recognize this desert from “Soft Places” in Vol 6: Fables and Reflections. He encounters a certain gothic figure in the desert, and they have a long-ranging and fascinating conversation that subtly references many of the climactic events of The Kindly Ones and The Wake. It’s a very illuminating window into the thoughts of both Dream and Morpheus, and the artwork by Jon J. Muth is truly dream-like and haunting. The final story is called “The Tempest”, and follows up his brilliant story “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, as William Shakespeare confronts writer’s block in his later years, but must finish a final play as part of his bargain with Dream in exchange for artistic inspiration. Much like the previous story, there are many levels to the story as it explores the sacrifices that writers make in terms of family life, artistic integrity, and also celebrates the difficult creative process that writers must struggle with. It’s also a tribute to the genius of Shakespeare’s skills with the English language, and a form of meta-commentary by Gaiman the writer. Like “Exiles”, the main character engages in a meaningful conversation with Morpheus, both his benefactor and tormentor. Overall, the quality of writing throughout this volume is very high, and the two extra stories at the end demonstrate that Gaiman can craft stories from almost any subject matter and seamlessly weave in his mythology of the Endless to make thought-provoking stories. Complemented by excellent artwork, this is definitely one of the highlights of the series. There is another volume called Endless Nights featuring a story about each of the Endless, along with stand-alone companion pieces like The Dream Hunters, Death, and Sandman: Overture, so there is still more to look forward to. If I had one complaint, it’s that Gaiman never explains why the Endless came about, who the Creator is, what the purpose of the Silver City is, or any of the unseen forces that have established all the rules that bind even the most powerful immortal beings. I basically figured that he would not go there, but waited until the full sequence before passing judgement. In some sense it’s disappointing, but I think Gaiman’s main point is that it is humankind who can created its own mythologies and explanations for the universe, so any answers can only come from our own imaginations.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Airiz C

    So this is where we wake up. After being lulled by the nocturnes, after trekking the steep places that only exists when we slumber, after journeying with the good and the bad and the in-betweens, after hurrying to and from the heart of the Dreaming, there will come a time when we need to open our eyes. Nightmares or good dreams—they have to end sometime.. Those were the words that came in my head some time ago, when I was about to read the last volume of this beloved series for the fi So this is where we wake up. After being lulled by the nocturnes, after trekking the steep places that only exists when we slumber, after journeying with the good and the bad and the in-betweens, after hurrying to and from the heart of the Dreaming, there will come a time when we need to open our eyes. Nightmares or good dreams—they have to end sometime.. Those were the words that came in my head some time ago, when I was about to read the last volume of this beloved series for the first time. I have the same thoughts when I reread this recently. The Wake is the solemn "epilogue" tome for The Sandman where all characters mourn the death of Morpheus, the Dream king. But it’s not just all about mortality; it’s also about constant changes in life, forgiveness, endings and new beginnings, and looking forward to the future. The threefold account of farewells, eulogies, and reminiscing may seem a tad too long for an epilogue but it seems just right to me, after the lengthy adventures we had with the brooding Lord Shaper. So the Endless sans Destruction gather to prepare the ceremony for the late Dream. Mourners, dreamers, deities, friends, and even old nemeses come to pay respect to Morpheus; some speak of their encounters with him, some prefer to keep silent and grieve. As I said I read this before, but rereading Matthew’s speech almost made me well up again. He is such a loyal friend: "I was told to say whatever was in my heart. And I thought I was going to say something about how he was my boss, and how he gave me a second chance, and how he trusted me. About how sometimes he treated me like he thought I was an idiot, and sometimes treated me like he was my boss, and sometimes--very occasionally--treated me like a friend. I was going to say something about how he died. And about how that was what I wanted to do too...but that isn't what's in my heart. Not really. He was the most important person in the world to me, and he's gone...but you can't kill dreams. Not really. I mean, despair may be the thing that comes after hope, but there's still hope. Right? When there's no hope, you might as well be dead. What's in my heart? A lot of sorrow. A little regret...and the memory of the coolest, strangest, most infuriating boss...friend...boss...I ever had. That's what." All three issues are affecting in some way, and I liked how the narration is on the second person point of view. When the speaker says “Everyone’s here…you’re here,” I feel as if I’m really there. I like how it goes so far to tell the readers that it really did happen, and we just forget it in our waking hours, tantamount to normal dreams. It’s been a great series, but just like what the Kindly Ones once said in the previous tome, “For good or bad, it’s done.” All-things-shall-perish-from-under-the-sky and all that. Daniel Hall as the new incarnation of Dream is still adjusting, and it’s understandable. He looks exactly like Morpheus, except that he’s all white—hair, skin, garments, even the wobbly speech bubble. He seems to be more compassionate than his predecessor, as seen by his treatment of his servants as well as his easy issuance of forgiveness (and perhaps love) to Lyta Hall. She was, after all, his mother once upon a time. I think a spin-off or a series zeroing in on the new Dream would be great, too. His fear in meeting the other Endless for the first time is almost endearing; his confusion about everything being strange and familiar at the same time is too…humanlike. He’ll certainly be a darling for most Sandman fans. The art is gorgeous—soft and shady, unlike the sharp and vibrant illustrations in The Kindly Ones. I think it’s fitting for the atmosphere of the volume. Anyway, there are also three stand-alone stories here, one about Hob Gadling (the long-living mortal friend of Morpheus this time chitchatting with the lovely Death), one about a Chinese story that have parallels with the tale of Orpheus and Morpheus (the art is superb!), and the last one about William Shakespeare again (yes, it’s a sequel of sorts to A Midsummer Night’s Dream). They are wonderful, of course, but they seem a little out of place being compiled in the same volume as the first three. It’s hard to say goodbye to a very good series, but as I’ve said in the introduction of this review, we will eventually come to that stage.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    This is the end.Well volume 10 is more of an epilogue. This was intriguing series, sure it had low points but when it was good it was among best graphic novels and among best Gaimans work overall.Only thing that was bad throughout the series where illustrations, there where several different illustrators but I don't think any of them did a good job. Overall rating for the whole series:4.5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    So it's over. I feel a bit sad that it is. And especially because The Tempest arc was so beautiful. Neil Gaiman knows how to break your heart. And melt it. And do many other things to it. Bloody bastard. Sigh. I need a rehab, I think.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Greatbatch

    Around 12 months ago, I started to read Neil Gaiman's 'The Sandman' series. I borrowed the first collection, Preludes & Nocturnes, from the library and that's where my obsession started. It had me hooked from the start, and I haven't stopped since. Neil Gaiman has since become my favourite writer. I have started to read some of his short stories, and some of his novels. The obsession just keeps growing! I'm SO sad to see The Sandman come to an end, but it's been an emotional, and Around 12 months ago, I started to read Neil Gaiman's 'The Sandman' series. I borrowed the first collection, Preludes & Nocturnes, from the library and that's where my obsession started. It had me hooked from the start, and I haven't stopped since. Neil Gaiman has since become my favourite writer. I have started to read some of his short stories, and some of his novels. The obsession just keeps growing! I'm SO sad to see The Sandman come to an end, but it's been an emotional, and amazing journey. Whilst reading the fourth volume, Season of Mists, I lost my Father. There was a quote in there somewhere that really touched me and helped me through that hard time in my life. ‘You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.’ 'She's dead. You're alive. So live'. Thank you, Neil.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The tenth in the Sandman series is a conclusion of what went before. One of the Endless, Morpheus, has ceased to be, and there is to be a gathering of his family, dreamers and other mourners to commemorate his life. As preparations for the funeral begin, Daniel Hall, who has become the new Sandman, meets with Morpheus’s family. He has already started to look like the previous Dream. The mourners are an eclectic bunch, mot only are there the family, but there are a smattering of superh The tenth in the Sandman series is a conclusion of what went before. One of the Endless, Morpheus, has ceased to be, and there is to be a gathering of his family, dreamers and other mourners to commemorate his life. As preparations for the funeral begin, Daniel Hall, who has become the new Sandman, meets with Morpheus’s family. He has already started to look like the previous Dream. The mourners are an eclectic bunch, mot only are there the family, but there are a smattering of superhero’s and characters that have appeared in many previous episodes have come to pay their last respects. His family choose to speak at the funeral, and the last to speak is his sister Death. Their eulogies acknowledge his place in the other world and speak of his uniqueness. The is a short story about an adviser to the Emperor of China, he is exiled because of his sons political alignments, but his life is spared after showing that he can care. It concludes with The Tempest, a deal had been reached between Morpheus and William Shakespeare long ago, and this is a fitting conclusion to it. Whilst this was still classic Sandman, it didn’t seem to have the flow and continuity of the earlier books, feeling a bit disjointed and like it was stories dragged from hither and thither. That said it was still and enjoyable read with excellent artwork and the dark edgy storyline.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sally ☾

    “That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.” Oh wow. What an ending.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ronyell

    Who would have ever thought that one volume from a fantastic graphic novel series would be one of the most memorable and tear jerking stories ever written? That is what the tenth volume in Neil Gaiman’s brilliant “Sandman” series “The Wake” is all about! Long time fans of the fantastic “Sandman” series will mourn along with the main characters over the death of Dream while experiencing the different emotions running through the characters along the way. After Morpheus (Dream) ended up sacrificing his own Who would have ever thought that one volume from a fantastic graphic novel series would be one of the most memorable and tear jerking stories ever written? That is what the tenth volume in Neil Gaiman’s brilliant “Sandman” series “The Wake” is all about! Long time fans of the fantastic “Sandman” series will mourn along with the main characters over the death of Dream while experiencing the different emotions running through the characters along the way. After Morpheus (Dream) ended up sacrificing his own life to save the Dreamworld from collapsing in “The Kindly Ones,” a ceremony that takes place in the Wake is held to honor his memory and all the characters including Dream’s siblings, all ended up coming to his ceremony. Also, the story goes on about how Daniel, Hippolyta Hall’s son, ends up taking over Dream’s former position as Lord of the Dreamworld and how the other characters, mainly Matthew the Raven react to the new lord. After reading this heartfelt volume about the characters agonizing over the death of Dream, I found myself feeling sad too, for not only Morpheus’ death, but also because of the fact that this might be the last time we see more adventures from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series. Neil Gaiman has brilliantly wrote a touching and heartfelt volume that provides as a sort of conclusion of the “Sandman” series and seeing all the characters we have known over the years such as Rose Walker and Dream’s siblings mourning over the death of Dream was a truly memorable experience for me. I loved the way that Neil Gaiman detailed the reactions from all of the characters when they found out that Dream died, especially with Matthew the Raven who refused to accept the new Dream, who is Daniel, and blamed himself for the death of Dream, which showed us how close Matthew was to Dream. I also loved seeing the sad reactions from Dream’s siblings (Death, Despair, Delirium, Destiny and Desire) and how they were forced to move on and greet the new Dream lord, even though they miss their brother dearly. The acknowledgement that Neil Gaiman presented at the end of the volume was truly heartwarming as he expresses about how the “Sandman” series strongly relates to himself and how much he really enjoyed working on the series. The artwork done by the combined forces of Michael Zulli, Jon J. Muth and Charles Vess greatly brought out the beauty in this volume, especially Michael Zulli’s artwork in the story arc “The Wake,” which the characters look much more realistic and the artwork seems to have a classic Renaissance feel to them as the characters look like they were paintings that came from the Renaissance era. Jon J. Muth’s artwork in the short story “Exiles” was brilliantly done as the artwork seems to come out of an abstract artwork that you would find in an art museum as most of the coloring are in black and white while there are some coloring that emphasizes a certain scenario that the characters face. [image error] Charles Vess’ artwork in the final story “The Tempest” was beautifully done as the artwork has a sophisticated and old fashioned feel that greatly complements the characters including William Shakespeare. Probably the only problem with this volume is that there is some strong language including dropping the “s” bomb a dozen times and some readers might be offended by the strong language. Surprisingly though, this is the least violent volume I have ever read from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series since it is basically detailing the characters’ reactions to the death of Dream, so readers will not have a problem with any gory scenes that just pops out of nowhere. Overall, “The Sandman: The Wake” is everything I ever hoped for in a volume that sort of concludes the series (and I say sort of because there is an eleventh volume called “Endless Nights” that comes after this volume, which I will be reading!) All the characters’ story arcs are wrapped up nicely and I love the idea about a new lord of the Dreams coming to take over the Dreamworld. “The Sandman: The Wake” is definitely a brilliant end to the “Sandman” series and I would highly recommend this volume to anyone who is a fan of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series! Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zanna

    I was one of those teens. But flicking through this I don't feel nostalgia, but, surprisingly a new respect and appreciation for the dark romantic aesthetic & philosophy I 'outgrew'. Suddenly I realise the smug contempt I have felt for my former self and the scene was completely misdirected and unfair. After years of being practically allergic to black velvet and lace, I think a little bit of reconciliation is overdue, so I'm glad I picked this up again. The Sandman series does justice I was one of those teens. But flicking through this I don't feel nostalgia, but, surprisingly a new respect and appreciation for the dark romantic aesthetic & philosophy I 'outgrew'. Suddenly I realise the smug contempt I have felt for my former self and the scene was completely misdirected and unfair. After years of being practically allergic to black velvet and lace, I think a little bit of reconciliation is overdue, so I'm glad I picked this up again. The Sandman series does justice to the variegated delights of gothic sensibility, with diverse characters, supernatural magical realism, zany and sarcastic and sometimes morbid humour, and lots of empathy. The artwork is luscious, and full of thoughtful touches. Some aspects of the storytelling are a bit broad-brush, and sometimes cliches are reproduced or only clumsily challenged, but in general, tasty and satisfying for adults & young adults.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    Starting the Sandman series is a pretty daunting task, 10 volumes and 75 issues is a hell of a lot of investment in both cost and time but I'm glad I did it. The only Neil Gaiman stuff I'd read before was American Gods but I will definitely add him to my favourite authors list on what I've read so far. Covering the funeral and the Wake of Morpheus, or Dream of the Endless we watch as the Endless prepare and the people in the dreaming travel to the Wake, there's lots of people we've seen bef Starting the Sandman series is a pretty daunting task, 10 volumes and 75 issues is a hell of a lot of investment in both cost and time but I'm glad I did it. The only Neil Gaiman stuff I'd read before was American Gods but I will definitely add him to my favourite authors list on what I've read so far. Covering the funeral and the Wake of Morpheus, or Dream of the Endless we watch as the Endless prepare and the people in the dreaming travel to the Wake, there's lots of people we've seen before and we see how Dream affected them all. Also Daniel or the new Dream is preparing to meet the Endless, his new family, giving meaning to the Endless. Fantastic closure to the series, backed with terrific artwork and there's also some additional material about Hob Gadling, the man who never dies and William Shakespeare who completes his pact with Dream and writes his final play for him.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    While it's true the series could've ended with the preceding volume, I'm glad we're granted this final one with its gentle pace, its thoughtfulness, its forgiveness. (Near the end, I realized it's the only volume without even a bit of gore. Though the previous instances of explicit horror were never gratuitous, the lack is probably another positive for me.) Because of the frisson I experienced at Shakespeare's talking of "backstage" while not realizing where Morpheus calls home and be While it's true the series could've ended with the preceding volume, I'm glad we're granted this final one with its gentle pace, its thoughtfulness, its forgiveness. (Near the end, I realized it's the only volume without even a bit of gore. Though the previous instances of explicit horror were never gratuitous, the lack is probably another positive for me.) Because of the frisson I experienced at Shakespeare's talking of "backstage" while not realizing where Morpheus calls home and because of the affinity I felt with this volume, I'm giving it 5 stars. Of course, without the preceding nine volumes, its beauty would mean nothing. ... We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. ... (Please don't tell me I have to attribute that ...)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    A beautiful melancholy finish World: The art has been amazing since the start of the series and it is the same here. The frames the beautiful creative world and the tone that it sets for this world is exquisite. The world building is so utterly beautiful in this final arc. All the little pieces that Gaiman has created come into play, everyone gets their moment. Story: The story us melancholy and a beautiful thing. It's slow and meticulous in its emotions and execution and readers really feel the A beautiful melancholy finish World: The art has been amazing since the start of the series and it is the same here. The frames the beautiful creative world and the tone that it sets for this world is exquisite. The world building is so utterly beautiful in this final arc. All the little pieces that Gaiman has created come into play, everyone gets their moment. Story: The story us melancholy and a beautiful thing. It's slow and meticulous in its emotions and execution and readers really feel the end and new beginning of this journey. The stories here the characters and the tales they tell are all simply just phenomenal. I can't say anymore. Characters: Beautiful and nuanced. Melancholy and reflective, a new beginning has begun and a new chapter is written it'd just pure poetry and these characters just awesome. I can't express how amazing this series has been. It's just so very very good. Onward to the next book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sud666

    I am a huge fan of Gaiman's "Sandman" series. It is an amazing work of imagination and prose. Nearly every volume of it garners a 4-5 star rating. This final volume, which is still excellent, is a slight disappointment in relation to the quality of the previous volumes. The Wake is what is sounds like-all and sundry of the most powerful beings come to pay their respects to Morpheus. Even as a new avatar of the Dream arises, the old is laid to rest. It is an eulogy by those who have wa I am a huge fan of Gaiman's "Sandman" series. It is an amazing work of imagination and prose. Nearly every volume of it garners a 4-5 star rating. This final volume, which is still excellent, is a slight disappointment in relation to the quality of the previous volumes. The Wake is what is sounds like-all and sundry of the most powerful beings come to pay their respects to Morpheus. Even as a new avatar of the Dream arises, the old is laid to rest. It is an eulogy by those who have walked his path during this series. That part of the story is superb. The volume underachieves with some of the rest of the stories. The "Sunday Morning" story I found to be banal. I didn't care about the characters and had no desire to see how their story ended. I especially disliked the overly pious Robert spout sanctimonious nonsense. I refer to his "the Americans have more to feel guilty about than the English" in reference to the slave trade. Err..why? America outlawed Slavery in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation. The "saintly" English? They outlawed slavery in 1833. 30 years. Also to be fair..that Parlimentary Act that abolished slavery had exemptions for any "British East India company" held lands. That loophole wasn't done away with till 1843. So yeah...it's not like the Brits "saw the light" centuries before the "evil" Americans. More like 30 years and not even truly that (ask any British colonial from this time that dealt with BEI company). I did appreciate the fact that it was pointed out that it was African tribes that sold defeated enemies to the British to be sold as slaves. It's a fact rarely mentioned. Another fact rarely mentioned is that slavery never really went away. Legally? Yes. Truly? Nope. Want to know, in the REAL world, who the biggest slavers are (and historically always have been)? *points to the Middle East* Don't believe me? Do some research into human trafficking. Look to see where the neo-chattel are going. Also look to see WHO is doing the trafficking. It sure as hell is not the US. Just a thought. The final two stories are rather good though. The artwork is well done and trippy throughout. Still the overall quality of these stories weren't to the caliber of the previous volumes. But this is the end so it makes sense.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    It was a sad and deeply nostalgic first few volumes, even when there wasn't any actual recapitulations going on. It's the nature of a wake, or a waking from a dream. It was the letdown, the reminiscence, the transition that made these so powerful. Death is not the end, and indeed, it is not the end at all, but the waking from the dream. Pure poetry. Of course the remaining volumes do much the same, especially the last with our very own Shakespeare, with Prospero It was a sad and deeply nostalgic first few volumes, even when there wasn't any actual recapitulations going on. It's the nature of a wake, or a waking from a dream. It was the letdown, the reminiscence, the transition that made these so powerful. Death is not the end, and indeed, it is not the end at all, but the waking from the dream. Pure poetry. Of course the remaining volumes do much the same, especially the last with our very own Shakespeare, with Prospero breaking his staff. Ah yes, the strings become clear now, don't they? Excellent and beautiful writing, all of it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cheese

    A delightful end to the Sandman and one I will remember fondly.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    One thing about this book: it's boring Okay, I do understand that this is a funeral and that it isn't really fair to expect a lot of action or Gaiman's trademark humor in it. But when I pick up any book (especially one of Neil Gaiman's) I do expect to be at least mildly intrigued by the array of characters, plot, or dammit anything that makes a book a freakin' book. This, however was nothing but pages after pages of monologue that is not necessarily touching or informative and is quite honestly superfluou One thing about this book: it's boring Okay, I do understand that this is a funeral and that it isn't really fair to expect a lot of action or Gaiman's trademark humor in it. But when I pick up any book (especially one of Neil Gaiman's) I do expect to be at least mildly intrigued by the array of characters, plot, or dammit anything that makes a book a freakin' book. This, however was nothing but pages after pages of monologue that is not necessarily touching or informative and is quite honestly superfluous and even mainstream. There was entire double page of Larissa mulling over poor old Morpheus and their failed go at a relationship. I do admit that it is a point of interest to know what actually did go on between those two, but this is not at all what we WANT. Morpheus just died and there's this new Dream that's entirely white, and we don't know the first thing how this whole death actually works. So when I picked up the last book in the Sandman run I expect something other than an entire collection that's basically Gaiman scrambling to tie up all the loose ends in the most unsubtle and amateur-ish way possible. It's uncreative, it's disappointing. What happened to the magic and the story-telling mastery we were treated to in issues like "Ramadan" and "The Sound of Her Wings"? And that's another thing. This is a death. And for being one, we learned awfully little or even saw awfully little of Death herself. I feel justified to have expected some interesting conversation or a few panels that focused on Death. But no, we get TWO pages of Larissa. Death gets a few words here and there and that's it. I'm not a nearly as good a writer as Gaiman is, but don't you think it would've been a far more apt ending (instead Morpheus drifting off into the unknown on a boat) if it included something with Death's Wings? Maybe at the end, quite subtly, people heard 'a sound of great wings beating'? It's odd though, that Death's wings have never been mentioned again after the "Sound of Her Wings" issue. Anyway. That's it for the Wake, I'm onto discuss the three epilogues now. Sunday Mourning Alright, we get to see Hob Gadling at a Ren Fair and it makes for some highly amusing comments and snarky remarks from him. But this does not really serve its purpose as an epilogue. Death comes to see Hob in order to ask him if he's ready to give it all up since Morpheus has just died. Hob declines and well... he goes on living the rest of his immortal life in much the same way. This epilogue hardly gives the sense of closure any avid Sandman fan really wants, just for its lack of any real integrity. Furthermore, does the new Dream continue Hob and Morpheus's tradition of meetings every century? Nobody knows. But I have a feeling that Hob will probably hang around their bar anyway. Exiles Beautiful, beatiful, gorgeous art. And it features the strange desert where dreams melt into the waking world (one of my favorite concepts introduced by the Sandman series, by the way). An intriguing story of itself and it does give a little bit more closure than Sunday Mourning did, but overall it was a decent issue- not great, but decent. I just thought the way the new Dream appears and goes on with his job was a clever way of illustrating the point that 'live goes on' (not literally, since Dream isn't really alive, now is he?). And at some point in time Morpheus will be nothing but a distant, mostly forgotten memory, and it will be as if the new Dream had been Dream of the Endless all along. Tempest Now THIS of the three epilogues is what truly reaches me and deserves to rightly be called the Sandman series' final last word (which is a damn big role to fill). We see good ol' Shakespeare struggling to finish the last play he promised Dream to write. Shakespeare's play itself isn't as dramatized or grand as Midsummer Night's Dream was, but I don't think it was really the main point anyway. What I get from Tempest is a final goodbye from Morpheus himself. When Morpheus was being hunted by the three ladies in the Kindly Ones, it's interesting to note the ease in which he surrenders to his death. He lets Nuala call him away, even when he is by no means physically forced to leave the dreaming. In fact, he does not put up much of a fight at all. He just... surrenders. Which is more than a little odd for someone as prideful as Morpheus is (he cursed poor Alex to an eternal nightmare for caging him up for 80 years, but lets himself be killed for all eternity??). Well, it's been pointed out by many (Nuala, Death, Destruction, Lucien) that Dream has changed a lot. And that he actually wants to die, although he will never admit to this. Why he wants it? I suppose we will never know for certain. But when he started wanting this is an interesting question we could discuss. His 80-year imprisonment seems like a likely and logical event to have encouraged that change in him, and sometimes I feel that this is what Gaiman wants us to think for most of the series. But then comes Tempest, the final epilogue, and we are forced to reconsider what we previously thought of Dream. This is why did Dream wanted this play: "I wanted a tale of graceful ends. I wanted a play about a King who drowns his books, and breaks his staff, and leaves his kingdom." "But-- why?" "Because I will never leave my island. I asked you earlier if you saw yourself reflected in your tale." "Yes." "I do not. I MAY not. I am Prince of Stories, Will; but have no story of my own. Nor shall I ever." So, Dream has been contemplating his end centuries before his imprisonment. But what does this say about the nature of dreams? And that statement that he may never have his own story? Well, we all know for a fact that that isn't true, since we have been reading 10 volumes about nobody else but Dream. While I was reading through this, I looked back at the 10 volumes I have gone through. Is it entirely true there are no stories about Dream? The first thing that came to mind were all the stories told about Dream during the wake by the various mourners. Then it dawned on me that the stories only came after Dream had died. Thus, his death freed him from the 'island' he'd been on and he is no longer Dream, the impersonation of all dreams, and now his story could be told. To be honest, I don't fully comprehend this as yet, but what little I do makes the Tempest a very gratifying end to the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pallavi Sareen

    How ends should be.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I absolutely loved this series. So wonderful, dark, challenging, fantastic , poetic and beautiful! I am really sad to leave this world and those wonderful characters. A new favorite.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Skane

    **heartbroken** I'll keep dreaming.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok so. This thing about how Dream has died. Somehow. Though he's not really a living thing, but all right. In the last book, where that happened, I was disappointed. Since I found out about it at the beginning, I was waiting for something big to cause it -- a severe sacrifice, or a severe miscalculation, something severe enough to justify such a big leap. But I'm disappointed in the reasoning. I don't think readers really understand the Orpheus thing, because while it looked like a big deal, no one sa Ok so. This thing about how Dream has died. Somehow. Though he's not really a living thing, but all right. In the last book, where that happened, I was disappointed. Since I found out about it at the beginning, I was waiting for something big to cause it -- a severe sacrifice, or a severe miscalculation, something severe enough to justify such a big leap. But I'm disappointed in the reasoning. I don't think readers really understand the Orpheus thing, because while it looked like a big deal, no one said very much about it. So why did this really have to happen? And, this is important, but controversial: I don't think Dream is strong enough of a character to pull us into a tragedy with him. I think that actually this is one of those series where the title character is one of the least compelling pieces. He is cool, but I think that he rarely appears to be anything. His most vibrant moments are mostly when his sister Death is talking with him, because she is awesome. 5 stars for Death. So much so that I wondered, was this idea just an excuse to get her in the picture to say some really good stuff to him? But that's not it. And I don't buy him as reluctant sullen romantic anti-hero -- the whole thing with Nuala's being in love with him after being his servant for so long and inadvertently dooming him by calling him to her, just, no. Thessaly's story about their relationship is at least somewhat intriguing, though not really in line with the Dream King we've seen. There's some nice endings in this book, but not a lot of answers, which is what I hoped for. I still don't really get why this happened to Dream, and why baby Daniel took his place. Among other things. I felt frustrated that the funeral was followed by a bunch of short stories, because I needed more of the real story. The art in this volume is the most wonderful in the whole series, though, a huge improvement over the solidly icky looking Book 9. And Matthew the raven's angst was really good. I wonder what the heck is going to be in Book 11.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Well, I did it - I read the entire series. I figured I could just use this very last volume as a place to review the series as a whole, why not? For starters, I've read most of this before. Somewhere along the line I kind of dropped out of comics, so I missed out on World's End and everything after. Eventually a few years later I picked up The Kindly Ones to see how the whole thing ended, and I'm not gonna lie: I was still really into Sandman, apparently, and the final scene with Morpheus an Well, I did it - I read the entire series. I figured I could just use this very last volume as a place to review the series as a whole, why not? For starters, I've read most of this before. Somewhere along the line I kind of dropped out of comics, so I missed out on World's End and everything after. Eventually a few years later I picked up The Kindly Ones to see how the whole thing ended, and I'm not gonna lie: I was still really into Sandman, apparently, and the final scene with Morpheus and his sister got me all choked up. It was pretty intense. probably because I was 18 or so and my entire brain was still messed up on that cocktail of Hormones + Trying To Adult and everything was just so. damn. important. all the time. and that's what re-reading this entire series from start to finish has taught me: that apparently I'm an old grump now who doesn't get excited like he used to. Going through all these issues again and thinking back on how much they affected me when I was a teenager just makes me sad that I don't feel squat now. I can appreciate the artwork and some of the stories but nothing makes me feel like I have a fire inside. For example: my friend Trey and I used to collect comics [together? simultaneously?] and he was into Sandman long before I was. I asked him a few times about it, because Dave McKean's covers were (and still are) otherworldly, foreign, beyond compare. I was like, "So what is that comic about?" and Trey told me, rightly so, that I couldn't just really pick up in the middle of whatever storyline was going on at the time. A Game Of You, if I recall correctly. Skip forward a month or two and he handed me issue #38. I read it in awe, like literal awe. I grew up loving the dark side of fairy tales and shadowy woods and vampires and werewolves and all that, and to see it treated in such a fun but "serious" manner was just ... overwhelming, almost. I was so caught up in the story that I absolutely 100% did not see the twist ending coming, and I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. Holy shit. This Gaiman guy is incredible! Gonna wander here for a second: I really did not care for American Gods when I read it. You can check my review if you want but it boils down to the feeling that the book was loose and sloppy because Gaiman had no constraints on anything. If you put all the religions in a blender and then pour them over an inert protagonist, what happens? Which one truly controls whether or not the moon grants wishes? If a drop of blood hits the ground does it grow a flower or a river? Which gods still run on prayer and which ones demand sacrifice? For someone like me who's getting to be crotchety in his old age, it's just a frustration. What are the rules? What are the boundaries and guidelines of this universe of yours? There are none, so I can't be surprised when they're broken, and nothing makes sense because the author can just say, "Oh hey now so-and-so turns this situation upside down just because I need it to be, and maybe that kind of god works this angle of the story better or whatever." It's characters created solely in the service of pushing a plot around. Listen, it's like this: in a simple story you have a character who wants to reach the top of the mountain. The author puts something in his way: a boulder in his path, maybe. Does the protagonist go around? Does he climb over? Does he try to move the boulder? We as the reader have an understanding of what the protagonist wants as well as an understanding of ways in which human beings can interact with boulders. In American Gods we were left with a protagonist who only appeared to be going to the top of the hill just because someone else suggested it, and the author was dropping whatever he wanted in the way: lava. Space jelly. A contingent of spiked flowers. A key made of the way your mother's hair smelled when you were a child. Just nonsense that left the readers (okay this is just about me, not all readers, I admit) sick of trying to even trying to figure out what was going on because nothing had any consequence, any weight. Anything could happen at any moment and that left all the moments that had come before feeling pointless because what did they build up to? Something that you can't predict, that doesn't matter, and could change in a heartbeat regardless. Now, re-reading Sandman, I see that this has apparently always been Gaiman's thing. Fortunately within this series he restrained himself a little bit, enough to keep things on the rails. It had a single perspective - it was about the Dreaming and how everything interacted with it. They may not have been the most rigidly-defined rules but there was at least some relatively rational rule system behind everything. It worked well that Dream was not all-powerful, and that he was fallible, and also that he was a total jackass. man I do not know how I didn't see that when I was a teenager. Even the stories about Dream and Nada (you know, where he pulled some really dumb shit by imprisoning her to hell for eternity just because she wouldn't become his queen) just struck me as part of the mythology. In hindsight of course I thought that was normal because I too [probably] wanted to punish women who didn't want me, because I was a dumb kid who didn't understand how life works. Point is that Morpheus doesn't have a good track record at all when it comes to respecting other individuals and / or treating anyone with anything approaching, y'know, sympathy or god forbid empathy. He's cold at best, petulant at worst. Thing is it's not in a blatant "gotta love to hate this guy!" kind of way. It's just barely subtle enough to be insidious, poisonous. Morpheus has a crappy track record with love and respect. Morpheus is basically a cool goth god that dresses in black. Maybe I want to be like Morpheus. Maybe I want to be some cold jerk who only thinks about myself. I'm just sayin' he wasn't a good role model for me in that department is all. I've always been bad at grasping the big picture when I can't take it in all at once, and monthly publications exacerbate this. I usually re-read any previous issue of a comic before I touch the newest issue just to refresh myself. Reading the entire run of Sandman at once made it far more obvious that Morpheus is just really a big ol' jackass to everyone. All the time. Always. Oh sure maybe occasionally he'll grant a boon or some shit but Gaiman makes it obvious that Dream thinks this is such an inconvenience and it's only happening because of the rules. Refreshing myself on the entire run also helped me see how much more a lot of the stories tied together. You know, the whole 'lady in a diner on the phone to someone who is the friend of the other lady in this next story published two years later' kind of thing. I don't think missing these connections when I first read the books hurt my understanding, it was just nice to see now how much he tried to make a single coherent universe. I should get back to the part where I feel like a fuddy-duddy about this stuff. I'm not 18 any more and I think my imagination is suffering, because now when I read these stories I just kind of take them in at face value and don't put down the book with my heart hammering because I'm just overwhelmed by The Possibilities! Now I just think things like, "Oh, clearly he's always had a love for this idea of getting all the gods together in one place" or "boy this part of the collection really drags and the plot is paper-thin" and damn... ... I just wish I could reclaim that sense of wonder, but I can't seem to. So without that sense of wonder the whole thing felt a little flat to me. And I have tried the thought experiment about, "What if it's because you were 18 and dumb? What would it be like if you had started this today, at age 40, having never read it before? What would you think then?" and I believe the answer is that I probably would have stopped reading somewhere around Brief Lives because that's when the whole thing started to really grind and shudder like it had run out of oil. I'm not gonna lie, I actually skimmed most of The Wake because I was so bored of this whole thing, especially the never-ending Shakespeare closer. [as an aside: is it just me or is it a very weird flavor of narcissism where Gaiman clearly reveres Shakespeare and so he (Gaiman) writes a character that inspires (or even empowers) Shakespeare to become who he was meant to be? It just feels like "Hey I'm so cool that I can write a character that's so cool that he can inspire the guy that went on to be the best writer in the English language." I'm sure it's meant to be adulatory but it comes across as self-congratulatory instead.] I finished the whole thing a few days ago and wanted to give myself a bit of time to think things through, and here we are. Something from my ... uh ... let's just call it childhood, even though that sounds a bit like I'm trying to take myself down a peg or to classify this as a kid's book, which it is not (but my point here being I sure as shit wasn't an adult when I was into Sandman) - something from my childhood hasn't held up well. It's not the first thing, not by a long shot. I've been flat-out embarrassed by a lot of the stuff I liked around the time I was originally reading this series, and I'm not anywhere near considering my previous love for Sandman a flat-out embarrassment. It was only me and a million other alternative/goth kids who fell head-over-heels for these comics. I guess I'm just a little disappointed is all, that this couldn't re-spark that sense of wonder and longing and questing that it did the first time. But hey, teenagers are wired for that kind of stuff. Me, I have a girlfriend and a mortgage and a dog and a cat now. Everything about my culture and society tells me to be content and sedentary and so the receptors in my brain for wonder, longing, and questing are atrophying. I dunno if that's the right thing to have happen, but it is what's happening. Thanks for all the hours of brain fire you gave me when I was a teenaged weirdo, Neil Gaiman. Thanks for helping me to be even more strange than I was before we met, which was a prodigious feat. I'm sorry that we can't still be friends like that. I wish we could.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nelson Minar

    I recently sat down and re-read all of the main Sandman, 1-75. Gonna write some comments about the whole series here. These comments are not just for The Wake. I first read the books when they were published. I wasn't a comics nerd but a friend suggested these were special, and they were. I gobbled them up as fast as I could. Did the same on this reread, too, finishing the series in a month. Gaiman's a good writer but in particular he's a good _comic book writer_, the pacing and tight I recently sat down and re-read all of the main Sandman, 1-75. Gonna write some comments about the whole series here. These comments are not just for The Wake. I first read the books when they were published. I wasn't a comics nerd but a friend suggested these were special, and they were. I gobbled them up as fast as I could. Did the same on this reread, too, finishing the series in a month. Gaiman's a good writer but in particular he's a good _comic book writer_, the pacing and tightness of these stories is compelling. So is the art, at least at its best. My favorite of all the story-series is A Game of You. It's the right mix of humanist and mythological, the story is sufficiently weird, and it's just solid. The Doll's House is also terrific. I also think some of the standalones are the strongest parts of the run; Ramadan made me cry, I still love the Orpheus one-shot, and A Dream of a Thousand Cats is fantastic and the single issue I always recommend to newcomers to Sandman. Unfortunately I don't think the overriding story arc of the series works for me. I never did understand Hippolyta's character or actions in the story. I much prefer the earlier story of Nada, if you want to read something about Dream screwing up his relationship with women. And as much as I like Orpheus, having his mode of death be the event that precipitates the events of the second half of the run doesn't really work for me. I also think The Kindly Ones is fairly weakly written and I didn't much care for the artist's style. And The Wake is a wan ending, although maybe as an anticlimax that's appropriate. Sandman remains a huge achievement of comics. Fantastic writing, amazing art, and a deep ambition to explore literary canon and reflect it on modern times. I continue to hope someone figures out how to do a film adaptation some day. Into the Spider-Verse gives me hope an animator could be up to the task. Still the problem of making the stories fit into film-shaped boxes.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.