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Sandman Vol. 10: The Wake (New Edition) (Sandman (Graphic Novels))
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
All ten of these books are amazing; Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" is a must-read series for any graphic novel lover. Make certain to read them in order!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
One of the Endless has fallen, so there must be a wake. As the millions whose lives they touched gather to remember the fallen, a new Endless must arise to take their place.

Note: normally I try to stay spoiler-free in reviews (even if the book has been out for seventeen years). However, it's simply impossible to discuss this collection without spoiling the biggest plot twist in the entire Sandman series, so be forewarned before continuing.

The Wake is the tenth and concluding graphic novel in the Sandman sequence. It is an extended coda to the main narrative of the series, which climaxed in the preceding book, The Kindly Ones. As such the story is about wrapping up (or at least addressing) loose ends, revisiting some old characters and paying off some old debts. There's no real threat or tension in the narrative, just a loosening of the pace that allows Gaiman to quietly (but still effectively) develop and round off character arcs and leave the series with grace.

The first three parts of The Wake form a single narrative. A wake is held for Morpheus (who died at the end of The Kindly Ones) and beings from across the universe arrive to take part. There are numerous cameos from familiar characters (including brief ones from Superman and Batman, since Sandman is part of the DC Universe) and Daniel, the 'new' Dream, frets about his new role as he rebuilds the Dreaming. There is some tension to be mined from Daniel's meeting with Lyta Hall (who was arguably responsible for Dream's death) and from Matthew's decision to remain in the Dreaming or not, but mainly the emphasis here is on the loss and how it effects the other characters in the series. Wisely, after setting it up as a big event, Gaiman chooses not to show us the first meeting between Daniel and the rest of the Endless (in some parallel universe where Gaiman cashed in and sold out, we can imagine that scene as the opening of The Sandman II).

The latter three parts are more diverse. In the first, Hob Gadling attends a terrible American Renaissance Faire. Gadling is six hundred years old, the result of a bargain between Dream and Death, and is horrified at the romanticising of the England of his youth, a place of plague and death where life was cheap. Gadling, who is now dating an African American woman, is also wracked by guilt over the spell of his life he spent dealing in slaves. Ultimately Gadling is offered the chance by Death to end the bargain and die, since the other partner in the bargain is also dead.

Gadling has always been one of the more interesting characters in the Sandman series, appearing intermittently since the early issues and providing Dream with arguably the only true friend he has. This story sees Gadling severing his ties with the dead Dream and moving on with his life in a touching and human way.

In the penultimate part of the series, Gaiman cheekily takes a big risk ("What are they going to do? Stop buying it with one more issue to go?") by having a story told mostly in text, in which a Chinese government minister from a thousand years ago is exiled into the desert and inadvertently passes through a 'soft place' into the edge of the Dreaming, where he meets both Morpheus and Daniel at different parts of their existence. It's a bizarre and existential story which is intriguing and amusing (especially with the cameo from a cat).

In the final part, we suddenly reverse back to the early 17th Century. William Shakespeare has decided to end his writing career, but has to fulfil a promise: the second of two plays commissioned by Dream. As he labours on the work - a play called The Tempest - Shakespeare reviews his life, considers his legacy and muses on the choices he did not make. He wonders if a person can every truly change, and of course this what the entire series was about: Dream coming back from his captivity a changed being, but in the end not able to change enough, resulting in his destruction.

The Wake (****½) is not a blood-and-thunder grand finale, but instead it's an effective analysis and wrapping-up of what has come before. There are perhaps minor signs of the author overdoing it (dedicating three issues to a funeral and wake might be seen as over-indulgence), but for the most part Gaiman restrains the sentimentality in favour of an attempt to finding meaning in life and death and the choices that are made.
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on March 17, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a comic book fan I know most people probably imagine the world of comics as being about super heroes or Sunday Funnies. But, the comic medium is worthy of so much more.

Sandman is that "much more". The story is excellent, and is wonderfully executed. You're going to want to get all of these at once, because they can't be put down.

If you're already a comic book fan, you've likely heard of Sandman. So what are you waiting for? Read this already!

Excellent Story. Highly recommended for a reason.

If you aren't already a comic book fan, maybe it's time to give it a chance. If any story is going to change your mind about the possibilities of this art form, this is the one.
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on February 26, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The denouement of the series will leave readers saddened, both by the content of the tale and the knowledge that all good things end. Still, the writing is among the best of the series as is the artwork.
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on December 26, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Finally completed my collection and I can't be happier. I love that these are paperbacks so I can take them to the beach and just chill on the couch. They are perfect ot read over and over and over again.
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on February 28, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This has got to be one of my favorite volume from the sandman collection! Beautiful illustrations and brilliant storylines! I Will always mIss the king of dreams!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
My son turned me onto the Sandman series, and I became hooked, eventually getting all of the issues. The culmination of the series was sad, hilarious, strange, and weirdly perfect. Gaiman is an enormous talent (read his novels, if you have not)--and while all of the Sandman stories are great, among the best are the Wake. The artistry is awesome; the final wrapping us seems to have been fated from the first books. I have never been a great fan of graphic novels --but Gaiman has changed my view. His stories are intriguing, intelligent, dreamlike, sometimes confusing, intricate, and always full of his love of the character and the stories. This is a man serious about his craft, and , I hope, as proud of his work as he should be. The Sandman series is just about the best graphic novel I've ever read--nope, strike that. It IS the best. Hope you like it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was a stunning conclusion to a masterpiece. The new Dream Lord sets out to repair the Dreaming after the Furies unleashed their havoc. In doing so, many must come to terms with the fate of Morpheus and their role in it. I think an especially poignant moment was when Matthew had to deal with all that had occurred. It was also interesting to see how his Dream's loyal subjects interacted with him once the transformation was made.

I have always enjoyed Hob Gadling, and it was nice to see him in this final installment. And, you couldn't end the series without a visit from that spunky Endless herself - Death!

A good conclusion... now, I have to go read the stand alones.
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on March 7, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I highly recommend this series. I was hesitant about it at first but grew to love it. Now I just wish there were more books.
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on April 21, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Love the series. I wrote a longer explanation for Sandman Vol.9. Look it up if you're interested.
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