Welcome to the new year's first addition to my DC Graphic Novel Read-through. This is an ongoing series where I explore what DC has dubbed the best places to start with their comics. For that reason, these reviews focus less on the plot and development of the story and more on whether it's generally good and if you should start here. My previous posts in this story were for Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. This week I'm going in a different direction, and rather than picking up a superhero comic I went with Preludes and Nocturnes, the first collected installment of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. My next review for this series will be for Batman: The Killing Joke so keep your eyes peeled for that one soon!
Going into this I'm more than a little biased since Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. In fact, it's rather surprising that it took me this long to even pick this series up! It certainly disappoint on the Gaiman front, and even though he claims it's not his finest work, his style seeks through the writing and translates incredibly well into a comic. The art was something I was worried about since it's far from conventional, but it really does work with this story and I can't even imagine anything different fitting onto the page quite as nicely.
I realize this is a hard book to sum up, probably because the plot isn't necessarily what makes it interesting. Basically: a group of magicians capture the otherworldly entity known as Dream (our "hero") which leads to his long imprisonment. After he breaks out he goes on a quest to reclaim what was taken from him.
If you're looking to go into comics but aren't interested in superhero's than I would certainly recommend this one. Especially if you're coming off books in the similar genre as this. It's a good graphic novel to cross over into the medium with, even though it is a bit unconventional. It's also a more mature graphic novel, though not necessarily because of violence of sex, more for the concepts and just the world within the pages itself.
However, if this is where you want to jump into classic DC fare don't start here. Sure, Constantine shows up, and there are passing references to some of the big hitters, but they're really just there to cement this in the world of DC not to really be a "part" of it. It's not a superhero comic, it's a fantasy/paranormal comic.
Probably not the best place to start unless you're not interested in superhero comics at all. It is, however, one of the best graphic novels I've ever read so I can't recommend it strongly enough on that front.