The Dreaming is fractured and broken, and the Sandman is still missing. Lucien and Matthew are doing what they can to handle the crisis, but faceless figures are spilling into the realm. A demon lord watches just from beyond the barrier to the Dreaming, ready to strike. Dora the Monstress is playing at the border and feeding her own proclivities and causing havoc.
I was hard on Sandman Universe #1 for not being especially welcoming to new readers like myself, but I still held out hope for the titles spinning out of the book.
The fact is Dreaming #1 is a bit boring though; there is little in this comic to hook me into this universe of living stories and constant gestures towards metanarrative meaning. This issue mainly consists of Lucien and Matthew hand-wringing about the decaying barrier to the Dreaming.
What actually entertains is Dora the Monstress. She was the best part of Sandman Universe #1, and, once again, she is what keeps the story from being a complete wash. She's fun, impulsive, and unpredictable. She's also pretty damn funny.
There is a gambit pulled by one character towards the end of the book that also makes for some interesting reading.
That said, neither Dora or that gambit is enough to make this story compelling.
Bilquis Evely's artwork is damn good though. The detailing and texturing are fantastic, and the surreal designs of this universe are played with and displayed well. The work is also very expressive. The inkwork is quite good too.
The Dreaming #1 did not hook me at all. I want to get into the Sandman Universe, but this first issue meanders and focuses on characters constantly lamenting their own impotence without trying much to change that until the very end. Again, Dora is a great character, and the art team does some excellent work. Despite that, I find myself unable to give this one a recommendation.