“The Sandman: World’s End” by Neil Gaiman
[Sandman installment #8 was illustrated by Michael Allred, Gary Amaro, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, Steve Leialoha, Vince Locke, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Bryan Talbot, John Watkiss and Michael Zulli.)
“World’s End” gives the central characters of this series a deserved break.
Brant and Charlene (co-workers who barely know each other) are driving home from a business trip in June when it starts to snow. After being involved in an accident, they wind up seeking shelter in an inn called “World’s End.” Also waiting at the inn until the storm clears are a wide variety of characters – from centaurs to faeries. While the hours tick away, they kill some time by sharing their stories.
The stories are all diverse and interesting, but my favorite was “Hob’s Leviathan,” which continues the story of never-dying Hob Gadling (who’s made a few appearances at this point in the series.) In this story, a young boy sneaks away from home to become a sailor and winds up serving as Hob’s steward during a journey across the sea in which a stowaway is discovered and a giant sea dragon rears its head. (The boy at the center of the story also happens to be revealed as a girl, which is also something I love.)
“World’s End” was a nice interlude/collection in the middle of what is becoming a deep and dark master storyline. It’s not that it was at all boring – I read it eagerly and enjoyed it a lot.
However, now that I’m sucked into this whole thing, I’m looking forward to getting back to The Endless in the next collection – “The Kindly Ones.”