I've often complained that some Sandman tales are little more than vignettes that have little or nothing to do in the greater scheme of things. This 8th omnibus, The Sandman: World's End is comprised of a number of such tales. Interestingly enough, unlike the others, which I at times found quite offputting, this omnibus works perfectly.
Indeed, I feel that The Sandman: World's End demonstrates just how far-reaching Neil Gaiman's gift for storytelling goes. Essentially, this omnibus is a story about stories, each one more interesting than the other.
Here's the blurb:
This collection of tales tells of travellers caught in the vortex of a "reality storm". These wayfarers come from throughout time, myth and dreams to converge upon a mysterious inn, there to share stories of the places they have been and things they have seen, beside a flickering fire.
"A Tale of Two Cities" a man who believes he now finds himself in the dream of the city he lives in. Exploring that strange environment, he fears that one day the city would awaken. "Cluracan's Tale" is pure fantasy and recounts the story of a Faerie sent to the city of Aurelian to represent the interest of his people. When freed from imprisonment, he'll foment rebellion against the autocratic ruler. "Hob's Leviathan" is about a girl posing as a boy so she can go to sea. "The Golden Boy" follows the tribulation of a messiah figure representing the American Dream. "Cerements" is told by an apprentice from the necropolis Litharge, a city devoted solely to the Dead.
While every story has merit and is entertaining, my favorites were "Cluracan's Tale," "The Golden Boy," and "Cerements."
This omnibus was illustrated by Michael Allred, Gary Amaro, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, Steve Leialoha, Vince Locke, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Bryan Talbot, John Watkiss, Michael Zulli. Considering the number of artists, it is no wonder that there is absolutely no visual continuity. And yet, each artist's style suits the story they are illustrating very nicely.
Newbies should definitely check these out: 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), The Sandman: A Game of You (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Fables & Reflections (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Brief Lives (Canada, USA, Europe).
Onward to the ninth omnibus!