12 April 2011

Faster than a DC Bullet: Sandman Mystery Theatre, Part XII: Sleep of Reason

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2007 (contents: 2007)

Borrowed from the library
Read April 2011
Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep of Reason

Writer: John Ney Rieber
Artist: Eric Nguyen
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Rob Leigh

This book introduces yet another Sandman (DC's fifth, if we don't count the various incarnations of Dream), Keiran Marshall. When Wesley Dodds dies, Marshall acquires his gift of terrifying nightmares-- and when Marshall, a photojournalist, goes to Afghanistan, he acquires Wesley's gas gun. The story is sort of a gritty action thriller in the Middle East, but with four separate plotlines, it doesn't have enough time for any of them, and they all jump around too much. I didn't find Marshall or his supporting cast very interesting, and the portrayal of the dreams was a little too prosaic for my tastes. Eric Nguyen's art is great-looking, but his storytelling skills are lacking; I was often confused as to what had just happened.

Wesley and Dian cameo, in a series of flashbacks to their 1997 visit to Afghanistan, long after Wesley had retired from crime-fighting, but the dialogue doesn't ring true to the characters as written by Matt Wagner and Steven Seagle. Plus there's a lot of mawkish stuff about Dian dying of cancer. Overall, I don't know if importing pulp nostalgia sensibilities into the contemporary Middle East even makes sense. An okay idea with haphazard execution, and definitely a disappointing way for Sandman Mystery Theatre to go out.

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