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Review: The Sandman Universe #1

With a flourish of alliterative narration from Lucien the Librarian, the return to the Dreaming commences in The Sandman Universe #1, a one-shot with a story credit to original Sandman creator Neil Gaiman that sets up four separate books set in this universe. Each creative team gets an opportunity to set up their stories in this comic. Gaiman, Si Spurrier, and Bilquis Evely use the fluid and ever changing nature of The Dreaming to visit the settings of the other Sandman Universe titles in a more urban fantasy and mythology driven version of all those intriguing fake trailers shown in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double feature. However, The Sandman Universe #1 also has an overarching narrative and final page cliffhanger and isn’t just a sampler platter.

There is Spurrier and  Evely’s The Dreaming that focuses on supporting characters of The Sandman and their hunt for Daniel, the Dream of the Endless as his realm cracks and shatters. It also acts as the framing story of Sandman Universe with Matthew the Raven traveling between physical, spiritual, and dream dimensions in his quest to find Daniel. There is also Kat Howard and Tom Fowler’s reimagining of Books of Magic featuring the boy wizard Tim Hunter and his mysterious teacher Rose, Nalo Hopkinson and Domo Stanton’s House of Whispers that introduces the New Orleans Voodoo religion to The Dreaming and has a young African-American lesbian couple as protagonists, and finally, Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara‘s tortuous and twisting take on Lucifer, who must suffer to find his son and not be a absentee father like Yahweh. The framing story and three interludes have a strong narrative continuity thanks to the consistent, yet versatile colors of Mat Lopes and Simon Bowland’s Eisner-worthy letters as he takes over for the legendary Todd Klein.

Spurrier and Evely’s story that is set in The Dreaming has big ideas, humor, tragedy, and even horror as they reintroduce familiar denizens like Lucien the Librarian and Cain and Abel and introduce a new character in Dora, a female monster who can jump between dreams. Her agility is evident when Evely draws her multiple times in one panel, and Spurrier makes her a fast talker. She also has a dark side and isn’t a fan of the realm of the Dreaming because Morpheus lied to her a long time ago. The heavily inked flashback is some of Evely’s best work, gave me chills, and is the only time any members of the Endless speak in Sandman Universe. Like telling the story of a dream to a friend after the night you’ve had it, The Dreaming is all about setting chaos to order, but this seems like a tall order even though the epic quest format is pretty conventional.

After being unable to jump into the waking world via the food-laden dream of a woman with esophageal cancer, Matthew enters it via the dreams of Tim Hunter. While Bilquis Evely’s work is well-rendered and exquisite like a novel that is a masterpiece of both craft and plot, Tom Fowler’s work is messier, yet still highly detailed. Warts and all, t’s perfect for the story of an adolescent wizard, who suffers the second worst nightmare of any teen on the first day of high school. Kat Howard’s plot for this short glimpse into Hunter’s world is more Agatha Christie than JK Rowling, and it looks like Hunter will have to fend for himself for the most part even though she does give him a friend in Ellie.

Following Books of Magic, Matthew jumps into New Orleans and into a queer love story between Latoya and Maggie. However, Nalo Hopkinson and Domo Stanton immediately throw them into world of conflict between gods and goddesses, boundaries between worlds, and magical items. The Louisiana Voodoo goddess Erzulie is introduced in this story and is quite the mystery. Hopkinson and Stanton craft a true urban fantasy story as the life of a family and two young lovers intersects with forces beyond their control. There’s a lushness and beauty to Stanton’s art, and he and colorist Mat Lopes create a wonderful effect that turns the bayou into a scrying mirror.

The last story that Matthew wanders into before reaching the “end” of his quest for Daniel is Lucifer’s, and it’s told in horror tinged, nine panel grid severity by Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara. The Fiumaras strip away the David Bowie Lucifer that left his kingdom to open a club in L.A. and play piano and strip him down to something more malevolent with images that evoke more contempt than sympathy for the devils like starving ravens. Lucifer is on a journey again, but it’s not a fun field trip and more of a bloody vision quest. Along the way, Watters, Fiumara, and Fiumara riff off Lucifer’s first appearance in The Sandman where Morpheus defeats him in battle using the embodiment of hope. But hope might not win this time…

With carefully crafted artwork, writing that is both intelligent and down to Earth, and stories that have a distinct feel yet are connected through the wonderful device that is the Dreaming, The Sandman Universe #1 is a fantastic return of comics’ greatest creations as its creator, Neil Gaiman, hands off the torch to other skilled creators just like Morpheus did to Daniel over two decades in the first volume of Sandman. It’s a wonderful blurring of lines between reality and fiction.

Story: Neil Gaiman, Si Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters
Art: Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Domo Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara
Colors: Mat Lopes Letters: Simon Bowland 

Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Vertigo provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Sandman Universe #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the restart of the Sandman universe!

The Sandman Universe #1 is by Neil Gaiman, Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, Mat Lopes, and Simon Bowland.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: The Sandman Universe #1

The Sandman Universe #1

(W) Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, Dan Watters (A) Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Tom Fowler, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara (CA) Jae Lee

From the mind of New York Times #1 bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a new world filled with dreams, nightmares and wonderful characters living together in a shared universe for a new story unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien’s library is discovered by a group of children in the waking world where it should not exist. Lucien calls for Matthew the Raven to seek out their master, Daniel, Lord of Dreams.

As Matthew flies across the Waking World and others, he finds a young boy named Timothy Hunter who, in his dreams, has become the world’s most powerful magician-but in his nightmares he is the world’s greatest villain. A new House has appeared in the realm of the Dreaming: the House of Whispers, with its proprietor, a fortune-teller called Erzulie. And elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be trapped in a Hell of his own design.

Spiraling out of this special issue will be four all-new series set in the Sandman Universe. It all starts here!

Preview: Plastic Man #2

Plastic Man #2

(W) Gail Simone (A) Adriana Melo (CA) Bilquis Evely
In Shops: Jul 11, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Eel didn’t like it when a spy blackmailed him over his secret identity, and then a kid found out, and now the dancers at his club know and the concept of a secret identity has gotten stretched way the heck out of whack. But the dancers are helping him find the kid, who was nabbed by some bad guys who don’t know his secret identity, just his costumed persona, which is still a terrible day, even in his pretty rotten life.

DC Releases a First Look at The Sandman Universe #1

We are just a few weeks away from the relaunch of DC Vertigo, and today marks the first look at story pages from The Sandman Universe #1, available on 8/8/18! 

Join us as we return to the Dreaming, a world filled with dreams and nightmares, with wonderful characters living together in this fantastical shared universe. From the mind of New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, welcome to the sequel to the iconic series The Sandman, with new writers and artists, a new house and so much more.

The Sandman Universe #1 includes story by Neil Gaiman, written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, and Kat Howard, with art by Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara, Seba Fiumara, and Tom Fowler, and colors by Mat Lopes, lettering by Simon Bowland and cover by Jae Lee. Spiraling out of this exciting, oversized issue will be four new series beginning in September with The Dreaming and House of Whispers, followed by Lucifer and Books of Magic in October.

Preview: Harley Quinn #44

Harley Quinn #44

(W) Christopher Sebela (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Bilquis Evely
In Shops: Jun 20, 2018
SRP: $2.99

And in issue #44, she’s up crazy creek without a hoagie when Harley Quinn goes full Batman to hunt down whoever made her favorite bodega go boom. But while digging her way through a twisted trail of clues, Harley discovers trouble that could mean the end of New York City… only nobody believes her!

The Sandman Universe Gets Its Artists

Today Vertigo announced the incredible artists who will be bringing the Sandman Universe to life! Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, and Tom Fowler will join the imprint as series artists for the recently announced Neil Gaiman-curated line of books. The Sandman Universe will kick off with the oversize special The Sandman Universe #1, followed by The Dreaming and House of Whispers in September, then Lucifer and Books of Magic in October.

Here are the creative teams behind these new series:

  • The Dreaming—written by Si Spurrier with art by Bilquis Evely

  • House of Whispers—written by Nalo Hopkinson with art by Dominike “Domo” Stanton

  • Lucifer—written by Dan Watters with art by Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara

  • Books of Magic—written by Kat Howard with art by Tom Fowler

All writers and artists will collaborate on The Sandman Universe #1, available August 8, 2018. Check out artwork from all four artists, with colors by Mat Lopes above and below.

Preview: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #301

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #301

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Joe Quinones
Ink: Joe Rivera Color: Jordan Gibson Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Main Cover: Joe Quinones
Variant Cover: Bilquis Evely, Matt Lopes
Editor: Nick Lowe Associate Editor: Devin Lewis Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• Peter Parker, his sister (?) Teresa and J. Jonah Jameson take a trip back in time!
• The massive events of issue #300 presented them with a problem so huge that the only solution is way back in the past.
• The biggest challenge here won’t be keeping Jameson from changing the future, but it’s up there!

Vertigo Teams Up with Neil Gaiman for “The Sandman Universe”

DC Entertainment has announced the creation of The Sandman Universe, a new Vertigo line of comic books curated by Neil Gaiman, conjuring epic storytelling, immersing readers into the evolving world of the Dreaming. The Sandman Universe begins with four new ongoing series, existing in a shared universe, building upon Gaiman’s New York Times best-selling series that lyrically weaved together stories of dreams and magic.

Each writer was hand-selected by Gaiman for the following series:

  • The Dreaming by Si Spurrier (2000AD, SUICIDE SQUAD)
  • House of Whispers by Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, New Moon’s Arms)
  • Lucifer by Dan Watters (Limbo, Assassin’s Creed comic series)
  • Books of Magic by Kat Howard (Roses and Rot, An Unkindness of Magicians)

The new line will begin August 8, 2018 with The Sandman Universe #1, a one-shot story plotted by Gaiman and co-written by the four series writers. it features art by Bilquis Evely and a cover by Jae Lee.

Daniel, the lord of Dreams, has gone missing and it causes chaos in the kingdom of dreams…

A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien’s
library of all the unwritten books ever dreamed is discovered by a group of children in the waking world.

Simultaneously, a new House appears—the House of Whispers—joining the Houses of Secret and Mystery in the Dreaming. Its proprietor is a fortune teller called Erzulie, whom the inhabitants of the Dreaming suspect may be responsible for all the strange goings on.

Elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be in a Hell of his own design.

And in London, a young boy named Timothy Hunter sleeps, in his dreams he becomes the world’s most powerful magician, but in his nightmares, he becomes the world’s worst villain, which future will become reality?

The Dreaming by Si Spurrier features promotional art by Yanick Paquette.

There is a place where gods are born and stories are spun. But twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, Dream of the Endless has inexplicably abandoned the dreaming. His absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities which consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate, among them Lucien the librarian, Nuala of Faerie, and Dora, a monstress without memories. But while they struggle to restore the King to his throne, they face from intrigues within and conquest from without. As usurpers circle the defenceless domain and an impossible shadow awaits its own birth beside a rip in reality, the denizens of the dreaming play out their stories of loss and love, resignation and resistance.

House of Whispers by Nalo Hopkinson features promotional art by Sean Andrew Murray.

Latoya is in a coma. Her girlfriend enlists the help of Latoya’s two younger sisters. Using the Book of Whispers, they mistakenly steal the essence of Erzulie, a deity of voodoo mythology. The psychic blowback of the spell causes her house to crash into the Dreaming, beside the Houses of Secrets and Mystery and their custodians, Cain and Abel.

In the real world, the awakened young woman suffers a mystical form of Cotard’s Delusion—she believes she is already dead, and she’s transmitting her beliefs to others, causing them to become guardians of the Gap that has appeared in the Dreaming.

Lucifer by Dan Watters features promotional art by Goñi Montes.

A few years ago, the devil vanished. Some people say he died or simply ran away, while others believe he never existed at all. But we aren’t some people. No. This is the one true story of what happened to the Prince of Lies, the Bringer of Light—Lucifer, the blind, destitute old man, who lives in a small boarding house in a quiet little town, where nothing is  quite what it seems and no one can leave. he’s trapped, you see? Trapped n a bizarre prison with no memory of how he got there or why. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a policeman who may have brain cancer is tasked with a mission of divine importance: find and kill Lucifer.

Books of Magic by Kat Howard features promo art by Kai Carpenter.

Timothy Hunter is destined to become the most powerful magician in the universe, but that doesn’t mean he gets to cut class, skip exams, or is impervious to bullying by his mundane peers. After all, he’s still a London teenager and having magical abilities complicates things more than it helps. And while Tim’s trying to study and attract the cute girl in his class, there are cultists who want to kill him, believing his power will eventually corrupt him, turning him into a merciless mage. Luckily, the new substitute teacher for his school wants to mentor him and educate him in the magical arts so that he can discover the master behind the Books of Magic…

The Sandman Universe #1 will reintroduce the Sandman Universe and its characters, while establishing conflicts that will be examined in the monthly comic books., The Dreaming and House of Whispers will debut in September with Lucifer and Books of Magic hitting shelves in October.

Check out more concept work by Bilquis Evely below.

Vertigo is helmed by Executive Editor Mark Doyle, who returned to Vertigo last year after over-site of the Batman group of titles for DC, bringing a new editorial voice to the beloved imprint.

Exclusive Preview: Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #5

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #5

Written by: Paul Dini, Marc Andreyko
Art by: Laura Braga
Cover by: Jen Bartel
Variant cover by: Bilquis Evely
U.S. Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: February 7, 2018

Archie and Jughead’s plan to save their girls from the dangers of the big city is foiled when Reggie tags along…and “Harley and Ivy” end up needing to rescue their saviors. But things can always get worse, and they do when Reggie leads some real Gotham gangsters back home to Riverdale!

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