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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 November 2015
Good news. I understood almost all of this, and that has made all of the difference.

POSSIBLE MILD SPOILERS. This book is a collection of all six of the original "Overture" comics. The Overture story has been described as a prequel, of sorts, to the larger and longer Sandman saga, (which appeared over twenty-five years ago and marked Gaiman's big time appearance on the literary stage). While "Sandman" deals with Morpheus, (the Dream King), and all of his siblings, (Desire, Destiny, Death and so on), this prequel features Morpheus almost exclusively, although there are cameos by most of the siblings and other Sandman characters, and a part of the book is given over to Morpheus trying to navigate the rift between his father, (Time), and mother, (Night). This Morpheus story is a stand alone tale, but it explains and enriches many aspects of the later/earlier Sandman saga.

Here's the really good part. I have read a lot of Sandman, not necessarily all of the books and not necessarily in order, and while I've been able to follow some of the story lines I've also completely lost the thread in some places. I still think the series is more fun than just about anything else, even though I know I'm sometimes only getting a fraction of it. BUT, Overture is completely accessible, even if, (or maybe especially if), you don't know the Sandman world. The start is a bit bumpy, of course, but the main arc becomes clear early on, and the subplots flow naturally from that main line. I've read a lot of graphic novels that turn heavily on pretentious and incomprehensible goobledegook, and perhaps the most admirable thing you can say about Gaiman is that he never hides behind such empty baloney. He tells stories first, and goes poetic/vague only when appropriate.

As a special plus, in addition to the strong narrative and the compelling supporting art, this tale has some fine little bits, scenes and throwaways, that give it both depth and a suprising sense of humor. (For example, Dream-Cat has a very appealing dry sense of humor that, from time to time, nicely deflates Dream's pomposity. It's very engaging to see that Gaiman is willing in this work to kid himself and take a joke, and of course that makes the whole effort more appealing.)

Apart from just the general reward of getting what's happening, being able to comprehend the outlines of the story frees the reader up to really appreciate and admire the art work. It just helps a lot when you know what the artist is trying to present, especially when the story and the art work fit together so well and so thoroughly complement and elevate each other. There are some set scenes and some panel series that are just jaw dropping, and there are many arresting shifts in style, coloring and draftsmanship that reflect the shifts in style, color and plot in the narrative itself. (One example: much turns on the star that has gone insane, and the artist does a brilliant job of presenting, in an abstract fashion, exactly what that looks like.) For those interested in such things there is a treasure trove of short articles, Q-and-A's and the like from the author and from Williams, Stewart (colors) and Klein (lettering), that set out in detail and in their very engaging own voices how many of the illustrating and coloring decisions were made.

So, I wanted very much to read this because it's Gaiman, it's Sandman/Morpheus, and it's gorgeous. I did not at all expect to admire and to enjoy it as much as I did; while I may be pretty much a Sandman novice, I put this toward the top of the to-read Sandman list.)

Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 24 March 2016
The story is completed,the arc finished.As this is a whole £6 more in a well known bookstore,let's call it "Moisture rocks",buying from Amazon is one of those decisions that should be quite easy.To all followers of this,one of the great fantasy story lines,it's a must have,presumably the very last words on the character,and the capstone on a classic work of literature.Yes,I used the "L" word,for that is what it is,and "comic" greatness goes no way to do it justice.Along with a very select few others,Gaiman helped to remake the pictorial form into something far more serious.A pity the legions of Harry Potter reading adults don't expand their horizons to encompass the works of Gaiman,and especially Alan Moore,redefining the form for a far more savvy audience.Be generous,buy a copy for someone else when you purchase your own,get them hooked on something mind expanding you don't need to smoke or inject!
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VINE VOICEon 22 November 2015
Okay, so you're going to read a lot of rave reviews of this book. But there were a lot of rave reviews of Endless Nights, which I felt was dull and inessential. Beautifully illustrated, but ultimately a bit pointless, and something which added nothing to the body of the work. And now, many years later, Gaiman has produced Sandman Zero, a prequel which is also beautifully illustrated. So is this the tribute band touring to cash in on past glories? Or is it Bowie's Blackstar, a valid work of mature artists who still have what it takes? Clue: this ain't no tribute act!!!
Here, Gaiman achieves the rare feat of producing a prequel which works as a standalone story, which fills in gaps in the reader's knowledge, and which deepens and enriches the original work by offering a new perspective on characters and events we have already seen.
Overture tells the story of how Dream became so exhausted he could be captured by second rate Mystics in Sandman issue 1. It tells of a star gone insane, which infects a universe, and how Dream tries to save all existence with a little help from his family. There are appearances from many old favourites, including Alianora, Mad Hettie, Death, Desire, Destiny, ancient gods, aliens and cats.
And if none of these names mean anything to you, trust me, you will still be in for a treat, because this story is accessible to a reader who has never encountered the Endless, though it has much more resonance for those of us who have been there from the beginning..
The art is lovely, though I'd maybe quibble with Gaiman's claim that it's the best ever on Sandman. However, the art by JH Williams is as good as his work on Promethea, which was astounding and is as innovative as it is beautiful. The package of this deluxe edition is gorgeous, and the extras, including interviews with Gaiman , Williams, Stewart, Klein and Mckean are fascinating. At this price, this is an unmissable bargain. If you have any interest in graphic literature, fantasy, Gaiman, or art in general, do not hesitate. Get it now!
Genuinely impressive and I'd give it the highest possible recommendation. This is the real deal....!
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on 25 August 2016
It's a long time since I bought Sandman, and my tastes have changed. So I bought Overture, read the first few panels, and ... put it down. Today, I read it all in one go, and the best of all news is: it's brilliant.

It's Sandman squared. The sheer depth of colour and complexity in the artwork is beyond anything I've ever seen in comics: it's like the high-art, near-photographic covers you see on collected editions... on every page. It's overwhelming, something to fall into and thrash around in rather than read. Unlike most comics, it can take minutes to absorb single pages. It's that deep, and that good.

But enough of the art; let's just say it's staggering. The story? Thankfully, that works too. So many assumptions tied up, so many points made. The reasons for attitudes and relationships in the original works (this is a prequel) are explained. I no longer get the thrill I once had from rereading the main story arc, but once I started this, the old magic came back.

Thrilling and worthwhile. It's better if you've read the series already. Buy it last, as a fitting epilogue to one of the great pieces of comics literature.
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on 8 January 2016
Would not recommend unless you have read other volumes of The Sandman - if you have this is a must buy. A prequel basically, detailing how Dream came to be captured in the first issues of The Sandman. The writing, as you would expect with Gaiman, is superb, but the art is something else. I don't want to go into too much details to avoid spoiling it, but how some of the concepts are achieved by the art is just sublime. A must buy for a Sandman fan.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 November 2015
Twenty Five years after the original saga began, Neil Gaiman goes back to the beginning and tells us the story of Morpheus adventure prior to the first issue; an adventure that could lead to the end of everything. The story itself is filled with Gaiman's usual wit and fantasy, with the added bonus of being illustrated by J H Williams III. While it's a prequel, and therefore we know how things have to end, the story itself still helps fill in a lot of blanks about Morpheus including meeting his mother and father and cameos from various cast members from the original series, from fan favourites like Merv Pumpkinhead to all of Dreams siblings in The Endless. Williams art is absolutely gorgeous, even more so in the Deluxe Edition where the art is on bigger pages than the original comic. If you've followed his work on Promethea and Batwoman you'll know that Williams is a master of the comic book page, from double page spreads to pages that look like they should be hanging in a gallery, Williams is adept at finding new ways of telling the story in comic book form - and never has it been more apt than for the bringing to life the King of Dreams. If you bought the digital versions when this was originally released then you really need to buy it again just to appreciate the breathtaking craftmanship of the artwork. Credit also has to be given to colourist Dave Stewart and letterer Todd Klein who really add to visuals of the comic without ever overshadowing Williams art. There's also several extras in the back including articles and Q & A interviews with all members of the creative team about how the series was put together.

Again while it is a prequel, if you've never read Sandman before you should really start with the original series. There's lots of characters here who you won't be familiar with if you haven't read the original run and there's also a few spoilers for later stories. For long time fans though this is a must buy. When the book arrives go grab a drink, settle down in your comfiest chair and get ready to be taken on one final voyage with Morpheus and The Endless - you won't be disappointed!
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on 15 June 2016
I am a massive Sandman fan and have been for years. I was incredibly happy to get my hands on this hardcover to add to my other hardbound Sandman collectibles. It really is a beautiful piece of work and diving into the material was like a walk down memory lane. I know that it would be entirely possible to Gaiman to churn out this stuff forever but I'm glad it is usually revisited with care. The artwork is simply stunning and it was brilliant submerging myself into the world of Sandman one more time.
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on 22 August 2016
I had to read this twice to really get what Gaiman had done. Perhaps I was distracted by the astonishing JHW3 artwork, in which the maestro takes it further than he's ever been before (and that's pretty far), but I just didn't appreciate the book in total 'til I'd read it again. Very, very,very good work. Something to pore over, thoroughly, again and again and again and again. (And again.)
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on 8 December 2015
The book itself is fabulous, solid and well bound with nice glossy paper. The illustrations are out of this world and awesome and it could be argued worth the purchase alone. The big let down for me is that there's no story, just incoherent ramblings, which drive me to distraction. Reminds me a bit of 70's hippy talk. No doubt there's a reason for it as explained by the author as he tries to and as likely succeeds to write his dreams, hence the title. All I can say that it didn't work for me and I can't give it 5 stars.
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on 27 April 2016
The story that simply had to be told. Best kept for the end of the series though, I wouldn't start with Overture even though that's now the chronological order. It will have so much more power when read at the end of the series. Great story telling from Neil and STUNNING layout and art - really take the time appreciate the way the pages have been constructed. Brilliant.
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