Short Box: Sandman Mystery Theatre Compendium


Sandman Mystery Theatre Compendium TP


Release: May 02, 2023


WriterMatt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle
ArtistWarren Pleece, Dean Ormston
Cover ArtistGavin Wilson
PencillerWarren Pleece, Guy Davis
InkerWarren Pleece, Guy Davis
ColoristDavid Lloyd, Mike Danza
LettererJohn Costanza, Clem Robins
LayoutsGuy Davis

I picked up – and still have – the first five issues of this back when it was new. I don’t recall having strong feelings about it one way or the other, and I think I dropped it after five issues as part of a need to cut back on spending.

But yeah, I didn’t dislike it, I just wasn’t terribly impressed by it either. I do know I wasn’t that keen on the Guy Davis art, and honestly, I’m still not – though I’ve warmed to it a bit – which I’m sure is heresy to longtime fans of the series.

Still, this time around I’m much more impressed than I was back then, and than I was by another popular artifact of this era I recently read.

The gist – based on a reference made in the first issue of The Sandman (the one written by Neil Gaiman), Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman has been updated for a modern age, even though his stories remain set in the pre-WW II past.

Wesley is haunted by dreams, dreams that are actually visions that compel him to don a gas mask and hit the streets with his sleeping gas gun in order to bring killers to justice and bring the dreams to an end.

Until the next time.

Each mystery unfolds in a multi-issue arc, and Wesley’s efforts to solve them keep bringing him into contact with Dian Belmont during both his daytime and nocturnal activities, and it’s clear that as time progresses she will become something more than just his romantic partner.

My biggest complaint is that some of the mysteries seem to end a bit abruptly, without proper closure. It’s often the case that the murderer is caught and we don’t learn enough – or sometimes anything, really – about their history or their motives.

That said, I do like that we’re seeing the Sandman in his classic outfit, which is so much cooler than his generic superhero outfit.

Overall, a good read, and if I didn’t appreciate it enough back then I do appreciate it now.

Born and raised in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jon Maki developed an enduring love for comics at an early age.

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