“The Sandman: The Wake” by Neil Gaiman
Simply put, “The Wake” is a beautiful ending to a fascinating, lovely, dark, and intelligent series. Morpheus, our DreamLord, our Sandman, has died, and the whole world he has created and encountered has come out for the funeral. Countless figures we’ve encountered thus far – from Jed to Lady Bast – arrive in the DreamWorld to pay their respects to Morpheus. If you look, you’ll even some of the rest of the DC Universe paying farewell – including, most obviously, Batman.
This includes all the rest of The Endless – even Destruction,who introduces himself to Daniel (The new DreamLord) then sneaks away before anyone else can see him. Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and even Death speak at the funeral. Matthew debates whether he wants to serve a new DreamLord. Daniel, now the DreamLord, recreates many of the characters who were destroyed in “The Kindly Ones.”
In subsequent stories, Hob Gadling – now in modern times, dating a woman who works at RenFaire – is visited by Death. Given the option to die after centuries of life, Hob still refuses. The world is still worth it. Shakespeare also gets an epilogue – Not only did he write “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Morpheus’ request, but “The Tempest” was also a commissioned piece.
Ends are tied up as best they can be. A whole new series could be created following the new adventures of Daniel in his role as DreamLord, but maybe it’s best to leave the series when it’s at it’s peak.
“The Wake” is a quiet ending to a rambunctious story, and a fitting tribute to a King of Dreams. Even the artwork seems to be more muted in tone and drawn less like a comic than a series of paintings. There are some stunning images of these characters contained in these pages.
I began reading this series not knowing what I was getting in to. I conclude it with images and characters forever burned onto my brain, and an even deeper appreciation of the genius of Neil Gaiman (as well as his spectacular team of illustrators.)
Highly recommended. HIGHLY.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep..” – Shakespeare, The Tempest.