The Sandman Universe: Thessaly Special #1 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Maria Llovet, Artist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: As The Glass House heads to its terrifying conclusion, we take a one-month break to delve into the world of one of the Gaimanverse’s most disturbing characters—the witch Thessaly. This powerful, ancient figure played a key role in the demise of the original Dream way back when, but she’s been a much more neutral figure lately—lurking in the background and manipulating the players of this story and the Dead Boy Detectives. Now, she’s about to re-enter the Madison Flynn story in a big way. Tommi, a young woman working for a shady Hollywood firm, is having a hard time finding traction in her life. She’s in a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone who clearly doesn’t care for her too much, her boss is a manipulative lothario who is clearly trying to get her into bed, and her job mostly consists of chasing down writers—which leads her to the doorstep of Thessaly, who has stepped into someone else’s life.
Maria Llovet takes over on art duties for this issue, which is a solid choice. Llovet is a talented, highly intense writer/artist whose indie books are usually full of disturbing imagery and dark themes, and that definitely persists here. Some of the things that go on in Thessaly’s “borrowed” cottage are among the darkest we’ve seen in this line, including one of Tommi’s friends being trapped in a creepy fugue state for the duration of the issue. Tynion also uses this issue to flesh out Thessaly’s backstory in a unique way—telling it in story fragments each told through a different medium, starting with ancient texts and building towards a modern e-mail. There’s a great sense of ambiguity through this issue, with Tommi never feeling in control so much as just parlaying with something much older and more powerful than any human could comprehend. It leaves us with more questions than answers, as it should be.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.