Posted by  Pete Albano - October 24, 2011 | Updated June 12, 2012

Sandman 1 to 7

Sandman : Preludes & Nocturnes

From Issue No. 4 of Sandman :

Sandman panel : kinge of dreams

He is the Sandman, Lord Morpheus, also known as Dream.

In Preludes & Nocturnes Sandman journeys to Hell in search of his missing helm - a magical artifact he has carved "from the bones of a dead god" and imbued with a bit of his power.

Sandman panel : triumvirate of hell

The panel above shows something that takes the Sandman by surprise: Following an unsuccessful attack on Heaven, Hell is now being governed by a Triumvirate. The original Lord of Hell, Lucifer, is shown on the left; Beelzebub, Lord of Flies, in the middle; and many-eyed Azazel to the right.

Here's the first of Sandman's headaches in the Infernal Realms : When asked who among the million or so demons in Hell has his helm, our intrepid Master of Dreams doesn't know.

Later on, Choronzon, A Duke of Hell, challenges Sandman to the oldest game, a portion of which is shown in this panel.

Sandman panel : oldest game

If the Sandman loses he has to be "a plaything of hell, for eternity". Very serious stakes.

When getting ready to leave, Sandman is faced with a dire situation.

Sandman panel : leave

What to do when a million demons won't let you leave Hell?

All this happens in issue no. 4 of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Preludes & Nocturnes collects the first eight issues of the series. Starting with Sandman's capture and escape in the first issue, we follow the Dream Lord as he retrieves his lost artifacts of power: His Helm, his Ruby and his Pouch of Sand. Along the way we encounter John Constantine, the Justice League, and, as seen above, Lucifer and the Hordes of Hell. The collection ends with issue 8 and the acclaimed introduction of Dream's elder sister, Death.

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The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes (New Edition) (Sandman New Editions)

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Sandman 8 to 16

Sandman : A Doll's House

Is the Sandman story getting better from the first volume? I say yes, because this second collection doesn't have the terrible violence we saw in Preludes & Nocturnes, the one set in the diner. I love how everything clicks together like a puzzle and how Gaiman is able to draw from the greater DC Universe. We have Lyta from Infinity Inc. as well as Hector Hall, the future Dr. Fate. We also see connections to what we've read before. Like Nada, the unfortunate 'lost love' Morpheus encounters in Hell in the previous volume. Her entire back story is told here. We also have that poor girl Lucy, from the diner, also being mentioned here.

The overarching concept in this collection is the result of a census of the inhabitants of the Dreaming which Lucien conducts on behalf of Morpheus. The census reports that four major inhabitants are missing: Brute and Glob who used to reside in Sandman's palace; the Corinthian, a nightmare creature created by Morpheus; and Fiddler's Green, an entire place within the Dreaming. All the issues in this collection are about Sandman tracking them down. While he's at it, he rescues an abused boy, breaks up a convention of serial killers and encounters a rare phenomenon called a Dream Vortex.

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The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's House

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