Friday, May 18, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] The Sandman: The Kindly Ones Volume 9 by Neil Gaiman

Title:  The Sandman: The Kindly Ones Volume 9

Author: Neil Gaiman

Artists: Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D’ Israeli, Teddy Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon, Charles Vess, Dean Ormston, and Kevin Nowlan

Genre: Supernatural / Horror / Fantasy

Year Published: 1995

Year Read: 2012

Series: The Sandman #9

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Graphic Violence, Mature Themes and Child Separation)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

Now, you are probably looking at the title of the ninth volume of Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, which is called “The Kindly Ones” and you are probably thinking to yourself about how this volume will be all sunshine and roses.  Definitely not!  Do not let the innocent title of this volume fool you!  The ninth volume “The Kindly Ones” is probably the darkest volume out of all the “Sandman” series since “A Game of You” and yet this is probably the best volume out of the entire “Sandman” series ever created!

Lyta Hall (also known as Hippolyta Hall) was always on edge when it came to taking care of her baby son Daniel, who was born after her husband Hector had died.  One night however, when Lyta Hall decided to leave her baby son Daniel in the care of a babysitter while she went for a job application, she finds out that her baby son had been kidnapped as soon as she got home and she desperately wanted to find him.  Unfortunately, when Lyta believes that the worse has happened to Daniel after there were no clues tracing to him, Lyta goes into an emotional shock and a deep rage where she confronts the “Kindly Ones” in the dream world and wants them to help her seek vengeance on Dream, the Sandman for she believed that Dream was the one who harmed her baby.  Can Dream protect his dream realm from the forces of darkness?

Now I just have to say that this was the LONGEST volume I have ever read from the “Sandman” series as it was well over two hundred pages worth of disturbing scenes and plot development, but it was worth the read!  Neil Gaiman’s writing is just as brilliant as ever in this volume as the story is exciting and creepy at the same time and it is like once you started reading this volume, you really cannot put this graphic novel down since there is so much excitement building up on each page regarding the mystery surrounding the “Kindly Ones.”  I also loved the fact that all of the characters that we were introduced to in the “Sandman” series all make an appearance in this volume, sort of giving this volume a finale feel as everything is set in place for the huge battle that awaits the Sandman.  I really loved the way that Neil Gaiman focused so much of the story on the characters as I was really interested in hearing about Matthew the Raven’s obsession about finding out what happened to the other ravens before him since I wanted to also find out about Matthew’s origins and his connections with the ravens. But probably the part about the graphic novel I was most impressed with was how Neil Gaiman developed the character Lyta Hall and it was apparent from the previous “Sandman” books that Lyta harbored a deep hatred for Dream because she believes that he killed her husband Hector in the Dream world.  It was definitely a frightening and intense experience seeing how Lyta’s hatred for Dream could cause so much turmoil for everyone involved, even though it was based on her worst assumptions about what happened to her son Daniel.  Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D’ Israeli, Teddy Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon, Charles Vess, Dean Ormston, and Kevin Nowlan’s artwork were brilliant creative in this novel and they all contributed well to the story at hand.  I will admit that some of the artwork is a bit blocky and I would have expected epic illustrations to accompany this epic volume, but these illustrations do bring a sort of uniqueness to the story and I still really enjoyed the artwork being done in this volume.

Some of the problems I did had with this graphic novel is that some of the artwork looks a bit cartoony to me since some of the artwork made some of the characters have blocky heads, which made it hard for me to take the story seriously at times.  Although, I will admit that the artwork did provide some creativity to the story.  Also, there is so much disturbing content in this volume which involves a mother losing her son, which would be upsetting for any parent who has fears of losing their own children.  There are also some gory images in this volume which involves birds pecking out people’s eyes out, which would be extremely disturbing to anyone who is not a fan of gory imagery.

Overall, “The Sandman: The Kindly Ones” is easily one of the best volumes in the “Sandman” series as it clearly seems like the true finale for the “Sandman” series and is full of disturbing and intense moments that will go down in history as the greatest moments in comic book history! Now that I am interested in seeing what will become of Dream and his crew, I will now start reading the tenth volume, “The Wake” to find out!

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