Sirk TV Graphic Novel Review: THE DREAMING VOL. 1 – PATHWAYS & EMANATIONS (THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE) [Vertigo/DC]
The aspect of a dream world and how the different perceptions of real play into ideas of conscience but also consciousness is something that Neil Gaiman has been dealing with for many years. The ideal within “The Dreaming Vol. 1 – Pathways & Emanations” [Si Spurrier & Neil Gaiman/Vertigo/200pgs] involves the breakdown of that structure. Whole different characters take the narrator form at certain points based on the idea that different metaphors and points of view come to bear during the story. The angle is a good one placed within the fact of an almost meta approach where Nora is foul mouthed and fun and just wants to be left alone but she can turn into a raging monster when she wants to. The key within her story is signifying what is real and what is not. Her approach is simply one of survival and yet Dream which seems to be a form of Lucifer in a way wants to help her find her true potential. However, he then summarily leaves the game. The different creatures that come to bear as well as myths like Cain & Abel have a quality of dementia to them in an almost wonderful way in that instinct becomes the prevailing nature overall. Nora however propels the aspect of what the story is about which about control over dreams. She integrates the personages of the blanks whom a character called Pumpkinhead refers to as The Soggies. They are made of dream matter and supposedly just mimic other dream thoughts but what comes about is that they can be lead and have a will at times of their own. That underlying metaphor propels the story in many ways without feeling overbearing. Ultimately the reflective nature specifically in how it relates to the librarian and the almost fated path of Nora offers a fitting end but also cliffhanger to what the continued vision of this dreamworld might be.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of real world conflict and the perceptions of an era can sometimes be caught in art but it is always the texture of perception that determines through what lens the emotion and drama is captured. in “6 Days: The Incredible Story Of D-Day’s Lost Chapter” [Robert Vendetti/Vertigo/148pgs]”, the author examines a small piece of Operation Overlord (which was used for a different effect in the movie of the same name). In this story, when many regiments are dropped over France, they miss their target but converge on the small town on Graignes. The story is of them trying to hold off the German assault until they can be relieved from the American forces coming from the coast. While some of the imagery, especially during the firefights is quite good with out being gory, it is the intersection of the small moments that connect, whether it be some of the young woman listening outside a church to the men inside who take initiative themselves to the simple happiness inside a mess hall just to get some warm food. There is an essence to the humanity. One part that works very well though it tends to play a little melodramatic is the aspect of the families back in America praying in a church in sadness while the soldiers and the local villagers in Graignes convene in the church in hope. The hope doesn’t last long and the texture of war and just surviving takes hold. In all actuality, the actual overrunning of the troops is more alluded to rather than shown as an overall stampede of German troops. But what the battle does offer is the perspective of war but also the psychological toll at points on a textured level. “6 Days” shows a direct and plain view of the lost memories of war before everything was laser guided. World War II was a war unlike any other and even a brief glimpse into the minutiae of the day allows for a window into the time.
By Tim Wassberg
“Deathbed” [Joshua Williamson/Vertigo/152pgs] is the kind of story that Baron Munchausen would be proud of. It is ludicrous in the best possible way because it examines the notion of self in a completely self-indulgent way with a protagonist that is just out of control in the most interestingly possible ways. Antonio Luna has a perception of his life story that is permeated on what he believes is truth and not necessarily the experiences of the people his path has crossed with. The gestation of the story is based on Luna bringing in a slightly washed up writer (Valentine) with one great book to her name to write his story. It ends up being just a ruse to bring his enemies back into the open and have a last big hurrah. The situations that Luna brings himself to including a lost lover, a cult he founded and even the aspect of truth pools guarded by murderous women and jellyfish are just part of the shenanigans, The art is florid and fast paced but also definitely R rated in its perceptions. As a balance, Lobo, another DC stalwart, would be proud. Luna is an accessible character because you see all his failings even as you are along for the ride. Valentime, the writer, in her own special way, is a foil that is not a romantic interest, simply more of a wary chorus to Luna’s Hamlet (which is more spot on than you might think) heading down his path. The resolution also paints to that sense of self in an existential way that gives the piece a definite sting and pertinence. It is a fun ride.
By Tim Wassberg