The Sandman Complete - Volume 10: The Wake
192 pages | Publisher: Vertigo | July 1, 1997 | ISBN: 1563892790 | Rapidshare | 50 MB
Awaking Dream - 5 stars
The first three chapters in this graphic novel are the story of the funeral for the King of Dreams, mostly seen through the beady, little smart-assed eyes of the raven who was once Matthew Cable. Delirium manages to steal the show a bit in the first act, but there's plenty for everyone. Just about everyone puts in an appearance here, from the lovely, self-absorbed and funny Rose Walker, who adjusts to her `condtion' with the help of her estranged brother Jed; to the immortal Indian King talked about in World's End (who makes a Winnie the Pooh reference, so's you know it's good).
The convention of Morpheus' old lovers is nice. Good Queen Titania refuses to disclose any specifics about their rumored relationship, Larissa/Thessaly comes to tears speaking about Morpheus (wasn't she directly responsible for him getting killed in the first place, though?), and Calliope's speech about her gratefulness to Dream for the mercy-killing of their son, was strangely beautiful. Meager words, however, cannot possibly describe the eulogies of Morpheus' family and friends, nor the mystical funeral barge that Dream's final voyage is taken on. It IS the stuff dreams are made of.
But, celebrity guest stars aside, this is the story of the late Dream King's best friend and right-hand bird, Matthew, coming to grips with his boss' death, the option of ending his own life, and the new Dream on the throne. Dream/Daniel Hall has a busy time too. Fear over meeting the rest of his family, The Endless, over dinner, and his quiet moments with the palace guards, show that, despite however much of Morpheus there may be in him, this time, Dream is more human than ever. But, as Destruction's visit proves, Morpheus is still very much a part of Daniel. Evidenced especially when he pardons his mother, Lyta Hall, for her involvement in the Kindly Ones affair, something Morpheus probably would never have done. Finally, Matthew learns a lesson that Dream tried to impart to his son, Orpheus, and had he learned it, none of the tragedy in the series would need have happened. "When the dead are gone, you mourn, and go on living." Or words to that effect. Long live the King.
The Epilogue, Sunday Mourning, chronicles the immortal Hob Gadling's day spent at a renaissance festival with his latest girlfriend, Gwen. Miserable, and feeling his age (635), Hob gets into an argument about English slaving practices with Gewn, and argues about what the English Renaissance era was REALLY like with a puppeteer. Then he gets drunk. Or at least tries to. Hob's description of American beer has to be read in context to be believed, but it made me split my sides. Then Death shows up. She brings Hob the news of her brother's passing, and asks if he's ready to call it a day. Hob's anguish over whether to choose a poetic death over a degrading life is a great, moving literary moment.
Michael Zulli illustrates these four parts of the novel. The faces, the colors, the emotion in every stinkin' panel... Wow. The colors and the inks look just slightly washed-over, somehow, giving the feeling of looking at the page through glass. Or like in a dream. This is some of the best comic artwork I've ever seen. Ever.
Exiles is the story of a Japanese man banished from his village, and, lost in the desert, he enters the Soft Places, a section of the Dreaming where all time exists simultaneously, and meets both Dreams, Morpheus and Daniel. A quiet, touching story, perfectly fitting with the mostly black and white brushstrokes of Jon J. Muth.
Finally, The Tempest. Illustrated by fantasy master Charles Vess, whose art is full of emotion and the sights of the period. This, the story of the world's greatest writer's last work, which is itself, the story of a powerful magician who breaks his books and leaves his island. Will Shakespeare himself, is faced with the weight of old age, his distance from his wife, and his daughter being courted by a boy he does not approve of. He deals with these by getting drunk with Ben Jonson, and pouring his heart and soul into The Tempest. Finished the play, Will accompanies the King of Dreams to his castle for a drink, and to ask him why this was the play that Morpheus wanted written about him. Because Morpheus, unlike some of his family and unlike Prospero, the hero of The Tempest, will never leave his island. Although he is the Prince of Stories, he will never have one written about him. And, I guess, that's where we came in, fellow readers. Just us and Mr. Gaiman. Wasn't that a nice note to go out on?
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