Sandman Overture could so easily have been a coasting job. Taking in the sights, once more round the mulberry bush, job done, bring home half a million dollars.
Yet repeatedly, issue after issue, it has found new ways of using the comic book pages to find new ways of telling stories, portraying reality and engaging the reader.
Take today's issue, Sandman Overture #5. With Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III approaching their final issue. And not letting up.
Again, using the double page spread throughout, there are two such spreads for which that amount of space is just not enough.
Firstly we have Dream falling through and into blackness, as captions spin around in orientation, as Dream breaks up into panels into windows. Something reminiscent of Cerebus. But then doing something Dave Sim never dreamed of. Having a page of comics, half on one spread…
And half of the other. And even though, as a result, the reader is forced to read the comic page in the wrong order, as panels are separated across spreads, it still works and still makes sense, whichever order it is read, a little like the opening page of this issue with the paneled levels of a black hole.
It doesn't stop here of course, this is just one of a number of examples. Collect 'em all.
And so we meet Dream's mother, we are reconnected with the Dream Of Cats, and we discover that Dream, or at least one aspect of him, collects Transformers. And seems to be doing its own version of Convergence and Secret Wars…
Either way, it's a good day for comic books.
Sandman Overture #5 is published today by DC Comics.