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The Absolute Sandman Volume Four by Neil…
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The Absolute Sandman Volume Four

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: Richard Case (Illustrator), D'Israeli (Illustrator), Glyn Dillon (Illustrator), Marc Hempel (Illustrator), Teddy Kristiansen (Illustrator)5 more, Jon J. Muth (Illustrator), Kevin Nowlan (Illustrator), Dean Ormston (Illustrator), Charles Vess (Illustrator), Michael Zulli (Illustrator)

Series: The Absolute Sandman (4), The Sandman (Omnibus of issues 57-75), Absolute Edition

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Just as great as the first three volumes. ( )
  ScoLgo | Aug 7, 2015 |
This volume contains the longest story arc of the series, The Kindly Ones and the next arc, The Wake but starts with an extra story where a dreamer (you, perhaps?) gets a tour of The Castle (from Vertigo Jam #1). Guided by Lucien with interjections from a few of the more recognizable inhabitants of The Dreaming. Then follows the 13 episode story in which the Furies have a score to settle with Dream. Lots of the old story arcs are revisited here with many great characters returning to create an ending and leave enough hope for a new beginning. This hope is further enhanced with the 4 episodes of the wake which has everyone coming to terms with previous events and their continuance, or not, in the scheme of things. Exiles sees Dream encounter an old Chinese philosopher who's been sent away from his emperor for the misdeeds of his son. The volume closes with a revisit to William Shakespeare as he completes the second play promised to Dream and so produces The Tempest.

Another excellent bunch of extra material follows which includes a Sandman timeline which goes through the major events from story pitch to the end of the stories published in this volume. Scripts (with thumbnails, pencils and promotional art) are provided for issue 57 (Kindly Ones Part 1) and issue 75 (The Tempest). There's also a couple of features on the collectibles that were made available over the course of this series' production (some of which I wouldn't mind owning). And finally the obligatory biographies of the people that made it happen.

This won't go down as my favourite book, the artist's style for The Kindly Ones I don't think did the story justice but was excellent for The Wake. Oh! I really wish they'd put spoiler warnings in the introductions. Don't read this one if you don't know what's going to happen in the stories contained in this volume. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jun 4, 2012 |
With this volume, The Sandman storyline hurtles to its inevitable conclusion. I had this spoiled for me ages ago, but it still totally works, and besides, Volume Three has a sequence that gives the game away anyway. The story is slow to start, but it really comes together as it goes, and as we see people throughout the universe of the series react to what is about to happen to Dream-- or what Dream is about to do? The final storyline makes a lot of sense of Dream's inactivity throughout the series (though I don't know that it excuses it as good storytelling), and I was happy to see Lyta Hall, wife of the 1980s Sandman, make a return. As the series' longest storyline yet, The Kindly Ones really works: I was riveted as I read, wanting to know what was going to happen next even thought I knew. There were lots of great little moments, especially the last stand of Merv Pumpkinhead during the assault on the Dreaming, and Cain's grief at what has happened to Abel. Marc Hempel has a different pencilling style from most of the other artists on the series, which would have been fine-- except that it often made it difficult to recognize brief appearances by preestablished characters. Though not quite as good as Brief Lives in Volume Three, The Kindly Ones provides an excellent finale to the series.

I need to say a few words about Matthew the Raven. Though Merv makes me laugh the most, Matthew is my favorite of the characters to inhabit the Dreaming, a mortal man who died and was offered a chance to live on in dreams as Dream's raven. He's your "average guy" amongst the far-fetched characters of the Dreaming, a little baffled but often able to cut through the crap. He got some good material in Volume Three, and he shines here in Volume Four, providing a human anchor for the massive events unfolding. The climax of the The Kindly Ones wouldn't be nearly as powerful without him, and he's what makes the last storyline in the book, The Wake, work as well as it does, as he struggles to come to terms with what happened. A great supporting character.

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Oct 24, 2010 |
This is really quite a lovely book. It has the bittersweetness of an ending that is a beginning, sadness but no grief. I quite enjoyed the whole series, but this is the best of the lot. ( )
  Helcura | Jun 10, 2009 |
Summary: This volume contains the final two arcs of the "main" Sandman storyline. In "The Kindly Ones", Lyta Hall's child Daniel has been kidnapped, and she seeks the Furies to help her avenge her loss... although the three play by their own rules, and by turning them loose, a chain of devastating consequences has been set into motion. The second arc, "The Wake", is much what it sounds like... a coalescence of the stories that have come before it, a closing, an end... and a beginning.

Review: Okay, I said in my review of Volume 3 that I was beginning to get hints of how each individual arc from the previous three volumes was beginning to be part of one overarching storyline. In Volume 4, all of that storyline comes rushing in, and it packs a wallop. Characters that we haven't seen since the beginning make their reappearances, events that happened way back in Volume 1 become important again, and themes that have been hinted at throughout are suddenly front and center. The art in most of "The Kindly Ones" is somewhat less representational than what's been typical for the series thus far, which occasionally made it difficult to recognize some of the more minor recurring characters. Of course, that could be because it's been several months since I first saw some of them in Vol. 1, too.

I don't know how much of the overarching Sandman story Gaiman had in his head when he started; either he planned a way to weave so many disparate stories into one big, beautiful thing, or else he managed to come up with a way that makes it looked like he planned it, but either way it's impressive. Recurrent throughout Sandman (and much of Gaiman's work, really) is the idea that stories have power, and this story is just oozing power - narrative power, metaphorical power, emotional power, you name it. By utilizing elements from throughout culture and history, the finished product feels whole, and organic, and more meaningful that a comic book should be.

Regardless, this is a series I could (and should) (and will) re-read. I finished it, and immediately wanted to turn around and start over at Volume 1 - and not just because I know which characters and events are going to wind up being important now. I actually went and priced it out, and I could get the ten-volume set of the original compilations for $135... but I don't want the originals, I want the huge, gorgeous, thirty-plus-pounds of restored and re-colored Absolute editions. I don't have a spare $250 laying around to drop on books (heck, I don't have a spare $135 laying around to drop on books), but MAN, do I covet these books. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It took me a while to get my bearings in the series, but holy cow, did Gaiman finish it up with a bang. Don't start at the end, of course, but after finishing, it is absolutely clear to me why the Sandman series is a classic not only in the graphic novel genre, but also a must-read for fantasy fans in general. ( )
2 vote fyrefly98 | Feb 27, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Case, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'IsraeliIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, GlynIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hempel, MarcIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kristiansen, TeddyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muth, Jon J.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nowlan, KevinIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ormston, DeanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zulli, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Collects The Sandman #57-75 and "The Castle" from Vertigo Jam #1. Contains: The castle (from Vertigo Jam #1) -- The Kindly ones: part 1 -- The Kindly ones: part 2 -- The Kindly ones: part 3 -- The Kindly ones: part 4 -- The Kindly ones: part 5 -- The Kindly ones: part 6 -- The Kindly ones: part 7 -- The Kindly ones: part 8 -- The Kindly ones: part 9 -- The Kindly ones: part 10 -- The Kindly ones: part 11 -- The Kindly ones: part 12 -- The Kindly ones: part 13 -- The wake: chapter 1 -- The wake: chapter 2 -- The wake: chapter 3 -- The wake: an epilogue -- Exiles -- The tempest -- A Sandman miscellany -- Afterwords / by Neil Gaiman -- Biographies.
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