Story: James Tynion IV
Art: Lisandro Estherren, Patricio Delpeche
Letterer: Simon Bowland
What They Say:
The immortal witch Thessaly has interjected herself into the brewing storm between heaven and hell, the waking world and dreams-and there are powerful forces who demand she pay in blood for her meddling. Thessaly, however, only has eyes for the mystery of Flynn and the Smiling Man. As for the Corinthian? Despite his promises to Dream, he’s less and less sure whose side he’s on with every passing moment…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Sandman Universe realm of properties have been going on for a few years now but I’m definitely a lapsed reader when it comes to them. This series comes from writer James Tynion IV as he continues to work well with DC. I’ve enjoyed a number of his works over the years and how he plays to the darker side of what you can do with some of DC’s characters. They’re joined by Lisandro Estherren and Patricio Delpche on the art side of things. The artwork and color design definitely captures the whole Sandman Universe look quite well with distinctive designs, some strong layouts, and a very appealing flow to how it’s all presented. It’s easy to connect with but malleable enough in a way with the characters that you can pull at different parts of them.
With the previous issue out back in May, it’s been a long four month between releases – though there was a Thessaly special that I didn’t read. Getting back into this midstream isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it does come together well enough to remind you of what was going on. With Thess and Max stuck in the conference room with Madison as the cat, he’s still not believing just how dangerous things are outside of it and her warnings not to leave as he’ll be killed. That disbelief is wiped away when one of his coworkers pops in briefly and is sliced to bits upon exit. It’s a rough sequence and lads into some good tension with Thess doing her best to get Max to try and get Lucien’s attention in some way so he can provide a different exit. Not that Lucien is keen on that when he does arrive for other reasons, but the discovery that the Corinthian is doing his own thing in the area gives him what he needs in order to help.
Bringing Max to the Library is certainly fun to watch as Pumpkinhead gives him a once-over while Madison seems to be able to navigate it better than him. A lot of Max’s time here is just wanting to be done with all of this and lead a normal life and not be on the quest for money and all that. His discussions are good but when we start off by seeing how his boss is using him and others are working their own goals, you know more and more that Max’s tale – especially with Kells – isn’t likely to end well. The Corinthian is doing his own thing as well but we see how he’s resisting the temptations of the demon in the club that’s trying to sway him over to their side, mostly because the demon can’t answer the most basic question about Madison at this point. And the Corinthian is intent on sticking to what he’s pledged at the moment and a way out won’t exist until that’s completed, which has him walking a fine line of getting closer to what he wants but unable to attain it.
The gap between issues did not help at all and it took a bit for me to remember some of what was going on and to get back into the groove of it all. I still enjoy the story a lot as Tynion is capturing some of the essence of the original work in a good way while playing around some of the edges. The artwork continues to appeal in presenting this kind of Vertigo-era kind of world and that hits a sweet spot for me combined with the cover designs. I do like the story and what it’s doing but the gap did some damage that makes me envious of eventual collection readers that will be able to just go through it without missing a beat and see the threads more clearly.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics
Release Date: August 29th, 2023