Well, this fourth installment came with the highest possible recommendation from Gaiman fans, and it didn't disappoint. The Sandman: Season of Mists is the very best omnibus thus far. While The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: The Doll's House(Canada, USA, Europe), and The Sandman: Dream Country (Canada, USA, Europe) were a bit all over the place and did not seem to follow any overall story arc, many of those disparate plotlines come together in The Sandman: Season of Mists.
Indeed, though it borrows various past storylines and finally bring them together, The Sandman: Season of Mists, which is comprised of issues #21 to #28, is the first truly self-contained story arc of the series so far. And as such, it's the most satisfying read, the more so because it shows that there is lot more than meets the eye. Early issues that appeared to go nowhere now have their rightful place in the bigger scheme of things, which has got me excited about what's to come.
Here's a brief synoposis from http://www.neilgaiman.com/:
We return to the regular series with Season of Mists. In it, Lucifer has grown tired of being the lord of hell. He kicks everyone out and locks it up solid, then gives the key to Dream. Dream must decide who of the many supplicants will get the key. This is considered the most popular story arc, filled with a cast of thousands as beings from many pantheons and myths vie for this instrument of power.
Illustrated by Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Criag Russell, and Malcolm Jones III, this omnibus features the best artwork yet. Still, this is a comic in which the tale outshines the art tenfold. Visually, other than the terrific Dave McKean covers, the rest of the art is not on par with what the powerhouse series of the 90s offered. Which probably gave The Sandman its own unique "flavour."
This sequence consists of one prologue, six chapters, and an epilogue. The structure of this story arc is easier to follow and enjoy, as it has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Contrary to the previous arcs which went off in every possible direction, there is a tighter focus on events and characters in The Sandman: Season of Mists. Not only do we learn more about Morpheus, but we also discover a lot of information about the Endless and various other pantheons of gods. And the end, with Lucifer chilling out on an Australian beach, admiring God's sunset, closed the show perfectly!
To all the Neil Gaiman fans out there who have yet to give The Sandman a shot, I encourage you to do so. Many of these trade paperbacks can be found in libraries, so you can read them for free. Or follow the links to purchase used copies on the cheap. But as is the case with anything by Gaiman, it deserves to be read.
On to the next omnibus. . .