The Sandman: Fables & Reflections

I've said early on that the early Sandman omnibuses were sort of hit or miss with me, what with all the stories being so all over the place without any sort of continuity. Well, The Sandman: Fables & Reflections is the worse in that regard, I'm afraid. The storylines which comprise this sixth omnibus are vignettes that have little or nothing to do with one another and, perhaps, the overall story arc.

I felt it was a bit of a letdown, for the tale had become brilliant in the last few installments. And yet, when they sat down to produce these trade paperbacks, I reckon the folks at Vertigo had no choice but to round up the odd ones out and put them all together.

In a way, The Sandman: Fables & Reflections sums up the Sandman series: It has its ups and its downs. At times fascinating, clever, and shrewd, and others sluggish and a bit on the boring side. Funny how the sequence consists of so many disparate parts.

Illustrated by Bryan Talbot, Stan Woch, P. Craig Russell, Shawn McManus, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson, and Kent Williams, the artwork in this omnibus is as uneven in quality as the tales it contains. Though the bar has not been set too high where artwork is concerned, the last two trade paperbacks featured the best artwork thus far. The contrasting styles used in this omnibus sometimes clash with one another, and some issues like "Fear of Falling" "Soft Places" and "The Hunt" border on the mediocre in terms of visual quality.

This omnibus is comprised of nine more or less stand-alone tales which vary in style and tone. "Three Septembers and a January," "Thermidor," "Orpheus"and "The Parliament of Rooks" were great, while "August," "Soft Places" and "Ramadan" were okay. As for "The Hunt," it was a decidedly forgettable piece. All in all, it makes for an uneven reading experience, the more so because I felt this omnibus added nothing to the bigger scheme of things. Of course, I may be wrong in my assumption. Which is why I'm curious to jump to The Sandman: Brief Lives (Canada, USA, Europe).

If you are looking for something to put on your Christmas present list, you might want to add The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: The Doll's House (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Dream Country (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Season of Mists (Canada, USA, Europe), and The Sandman: A Game of You (Canada, USA, Europe), if only to discover what the buzz is all about.

I'm about to begin the seventh installment, which means that it's the home stretch now. Can't wait to see what Gaiman has in store for me!

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

3 commentaires:

logankstewart said...

I'll be excited to see what your opinions are of the series as a whole. You may even surprise yourself looking back through all of these different stories and see connections to the overall story arc.

My memory could be wrong (it's been many months since I read through The Sandman), but I think "Ramadan" actually won some awards for the art. I also remember liking "Orpheus" quite a bit, too.

Enjoy the last few TPBs.

polishgenius said...

Some of the stories' importance becomes immediately apparent as things go on - others are of a more subtle influence, like logank says the connections aren't straight away obvious. This is probably my favourite of the short-story collections, as it happens.

Brief Lives, on the other hand, is one of my favourite stories ever in anything.

Anonymous said...

To say that the stories have nothing to do with each other or the whole story arc is untrue. They're all related especially the 'Orpheus' story which comes back in a big way later on.
It may seem like Gaiman was just throwing vague ideas and stories together as he went along with no plan but wait till you get to the end.
I'd recommend rereading the whole series once you've finished and seeing all the little clues and hints you're missing at the moment.