Sandman 7: Brief Lives
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Sandman: Brief LivesBrief Lives picks up a key element of the Sandman series so far, as Dream and Delirium set off on a quest to find their long lost brother Destruction. It's a bizarre journey that brings out all of the Endless siblings for the first time, drawing threads started in previous volumes ever closer together. It's sadly reassuring that, according to Gaiman's outlook, even beings more powerful than gods can do little to salvage a dysfunctional family.
The storytelling is first class, with Gaiman's dialogue and drama exceeding even the high standards we've grown used to throughout this series. This is the beginning of the end for the Sandman, as events put into action in this volume resound throughout the remaining books, with clues inserted here that allude to what is yet to come. The book is crammed with philosophy and fascinating dialogue, as well as a bit of action and the odd tragedy. Emotions are exposed, even in the normally cool Morpheus, and, if you aren't already, you'll be intensely interested in the lives and relationships of the key players by the end of this volume.
The art side is a bit more of a mixed bag, with occasional sparks of brilliance but the odd section that looks like significantly less attention has been paid to it. There's a continuity of artists throughout this story though, which stops some of the distracting style changes that have caused issues with previous volumes. Having said that, different inking styles are used to good effect, marking certain locations, like a strip club, with its own particular atmosphere.
The Sandman series remains amongst the best of comics but this particular part is one of our favourites. Showing Gaiman at the top of his game, it's a reminder of how wonderful comics can be, and why the Sandman series is a must-have element of any intelligent comic reader's collection.
DC Comics (US)
Titan Books (UK)
Originally published as
The Sandman 41-49
Previous in series
Sandman 6: Fables and Reflections
Next in series
Sandman 8: Worlds' End