Author: Neil Gaiman | Illustrators: Shawn McManus / Colleen Doran / Bryan Talbot | Page Count: 189
"We will all die, and the land will die, and the world will die, and the Cuckoo will reign in bleak dominion over all.”
Book 5 of 10 in the Sandman saga. For the people that accuse Gaiman of sacrificing character development so he can focus on the fantastical and whimsical, this one is for you; it'll crush your argument flat, like a little flat crushed dead argument bug thing, with orange blood and a satisfying crunch. It picks up the story of someone last seen in Vol II (The Doll's House) and treats us to the details of how her life has changed. Lives may begin and end in Sandman but stories go on.
All the characters are beautifully crafted; each has a perfect part to play in the tale within a tale, and out of it, becoming a critique of the genre as a whole. It’s a fairy story that both utilises and parodies that whimsical aspect of fairy stories, the childish locales, the unrealistic aspirations, the creatures, and the journeys that the hero takes; it’s Wonderland, it’s Narnia, it’s Middle Earth, it’s Oz and it’s the part of every one of us that hides the things we hope and fear. It also jocundly makes use of, and exposes the absurdity of, the deus ex machina that comics use much too often. It’s flat-out magnificent. Go read it.
It also introduces a new character who will return much later and bring great change to the Dream King.
The book collects together Sandman issues 32 - 37
5 it’s a small world for a big dog and a sleeping beauty out of 5