The Dreaming #4 – Simon Spurrier, Writer; Bilquis Evely, Artist; Mat Lopes, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Four issues in, if I had to make a comparison to The Dreaming, it feels like the Sandman version of Doomsday Clock. For me, that’s a massive compliment. For others…it may vary. A fast-moving cosmic ensemble piece with a despicable villain and a battle for realms beyond imagination, the title expands with every issue but never quite like this issue.
When we last left off, the cruel Judge Gallows had found Lucien guilty of dereliction of duty, seizing control of the Dreaming in Daniel’s absence. As he brings the Dreaming under his own strict definition of order, other players are trying to do what they can to save their realm. One unlikely hero is Cain, the cruel overseer of his brother Abel – who has found new purpose under Gallows’ rule, gaining his confidence and independence back. Cain will not have his power over his brother lost, and that’s sent him on a quest through the hidden corners of the Dreaming that winds up revealing some shocking secrets about his curse.
Gallows is particularly obsessed with the “soggy” that attacked him last issue, tracking him down and condemning him to a far harsher fate than the Warden of the Dreaming usually deals out to failed dream matter. That public execution leaves Lucien and Matthew to put a plan into effect – and it involves the imprisoned Dora, who has started to lose it since her capture.
It all builds to a final showdown in the portrait hall of the Dreaming as Lucien betrays Gallows and flees with Dora – to a realm that hasn’t been seen in this family of titles for a very long time and holds an incredible amount of promise. It’s definitely more straightforward than Sandman ever was, but its use of the concepts in Gaiman’s masterpiece is fascinating. It feels like we’re just slowly peeling away pieces of the puzzle, and I cannot wait to see where they go next. This is easily the class of the Sandman Universe line so far.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.