I’ve heard much about The Sandman series for many years, and so last summer I finally decided to experience it for myself. The first volume was adequate, but it didn’t “wow” me as much as I expected. Probably because, by this point in time, Gaiman’s concepts had been copied and recopied so many times by so many other writers that the original held little distinction.
I took solace in the fact that Volume III of the series was to be the one that set The Sandman beyond anything else in the comic book medium that came before or after. Sadly—for me—it didn’t electrify. Good? Certainly. Great? No.
So, believing the opinions of several friends can’t be wrong, I still pressed on. Volume IV, Season of Mists, proved to be the one. This is the volume that completely and utterly “wowed” me. From the beginning to the end, this was a tightly woven story packing emotional, philosophical, intellectual, and conceptual punches that did not fail to capture both my imagination and respect. The character of Morpheus is visually interesting, but it was not until this volume that he began to fascinate me as a well-rounded character.
The premise is simple in Season of Mists. Morpheus realizes he long ago made a mistake for which he must atone. It is how he deals with coming to this decision and the ramifications of going about executing it that astonished me. Gaiman’s imagination is limitless in Season of Mists, pulling from established myths and legends as well as creating his own.
The art, like all of the volumes, is rather hit or miss. Luckily, the image of Morpheus is so striking and the stories so good that the art is easy to overlook.
Finally, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Harlan Ellison by any stretch of the imagination, but his introduction to this volume is delightful and is alone worth the price of the entire book.