The Sandman: The Doll’s House (Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Steve Parkhouse)

The Sandman: The Doll’s House collects issues 9-16 of The Sandman series written by Neil Gaiman, and illustrated by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse. I read the German translation by Gerlinde Althoff.
Finished on: 31.12.2022
[Here’s my review of the Preludes and Nocturnes.]

Content Note: child abuse, mention of rape

Back in his realm, Dream discovers that four of his creations have used his absence to escape and are now threatening the human world. There is also another threat to humanity that stems from his absence: a dream vortex that Dream’s siblings, twins Desire and Despair want to use – against Dream himself. Meanwhile on Earth, Rose Walker and her mother Miranda meet Unity Kincaid, one of the first victims of the sleeping sickness that occured when Dream was captured, and learn of their connection with her.

After the a bit bumpy, albeit creative and promising start with Preludes and Nocturnes, The Doll’s House is a much smoother continuation of The Sandman’s story, and an interesting one at that. I really enjoyed it.

The German comic cover showing a butterfly and a man kissing a hand in front of a gray brick wall.

Given that Preludes and Nocturnes contains that issue in the diner (that is still unbeaten in its fucked-up-ness), it feels a little strange to say this, but overall I think it is still true: with its nightmares and serial killers, The Doll’s House gives us much more horror than the first collection. (Or maybe I had forgotten how much horror the first collection actually gave us.) The darker mood fits the story very well, though.

Rose’ storyline takes up the biggest part of the book, and it was filled with so many colorful characters, especially in the house she moves into (her housemates reminded me of the different tenants in Coraline a little), that it was a joy to read, despite all darkness that surrounds the story. Rose herself was also a nice character, I hope we get to see more of her in future issues.

I also enjoyed getting to know more of Dream’s siblings, even if they’re not the most likeable ones maybe. It is great that Desire is genderfluid, that’s a lovely detail that fits the character very well. With Desire and some of Rose’ housemates, the comic is shaping up to be very queerfriendly, that is always appreciated.

Generally, it felt like the comic found its footing much more and is ready to really strike out on a big story (whereas the first collection felt a little too messy for a big set-up). I am looking forward to reading more, and I think I’m ready now to start with the TV show.

Summarizing: very good.

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