Comic Review: Death The High Cost Of Living

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Death The High Cost Of Living was one of the many spin offs that spawned out of Neil Gaiman’s amazing Sandman Series.

The idea is pretty simple, Death spend’s one day a century as a mortal in order to gain an insight into what it is that she takes away. The story follows Death (going by the name Didi) as she saves a young man from suicide and helps him find many reasons to live.

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The story is a pretty simple one, sort of a guardian angle trope, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Neil Gaiman manages to deliver a fantastic piece of prose. The Art by Chris Bachalo leaves a little to be desired, although I’ve never really been to fussed on his art work, (although it was a damn sight better than his run on x-men, which shows what a decent colourist can do), it felt a little to cartoonish for the story, almost as if it was trying to make the concepts of death, life suicide and the immortal soul accessible to younger readers.

Overall though I was impressed, it was true to the whole Sandman mythos (although being penned by Gaiman why wouldn’t it?) and was a nice little done in one series that wasn’t reliant on you having read 70+ issues of the Sandman and the various other tie in issues and mini series that are out there, although I certainly recommend that you do.  This is one of the better choices of my 30 before 30, and was a pretty good use of an afternoon.

Comic Review: Lucifer (The Whole Damn Series)

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So I read the Sandman, what may be one of the finest comic series of all time, and one of the key moments of the series (spolier warning, but seriously the series is almost as old as I am) was when Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of Hell and the infernal regions, severed his wings and abdicated his throne head upwards to a new life on Earth.

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So cut to the new series, Lucifer is on Earth running a night club (more piano/ cabaret bar), with the aid of Mazikeen, the half faced member of the Lilim, daughter of Lilith.  And we pick up where you would expect, the host of heaven wondering just what the hell (pun a little intended) Lucifer is up to. Which turns out to be his old tricks of sticking it to his dear old creator, showing that in fact he did know better.

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The series follows Lucifer’s attempts to one up his old man by making his own universe and allowing that to run itself rather than adding predestination into the mix. It raises a lot of the questions that I’ve always had about the devil, is he evil? Or is he, for lack of a better term, demonised just for offering people a choice of their own actions.

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I wont tell you what happens to throughout the series, as by now you’ve probably clocked that I don’t do spoiler filled reviews, but I will say a few things about the series as a whole, at 75 issues long Mike Carey manages to give a fully grown up and mature comic that delivers a really complex and enjoyable story, It isn’t the Sandman, and if you pick up a copy, don’t expect it to be the same sort of thing, it isn’t, it may share a few themes, and a few familiar faces may turn up, but this is really its own separate entity.

The art team changes throughout the series, but it is luckily of a consistently high calibre from beginning to end, with vivid colours that still somehow manage to capture the tone of the prince of Pulotu (Polynesian hell). It really has been one of the more enjoyable comic series that I have read over the past few years and just under 80 issues was really the right amount to do the story justice without it becoming stale as many longer running titles have done (Hellblazer being a key example). I’m not sure how I feel now knowing that the series has been revived some 10 years later, but will undoubtedly let you know how it turns out.

 

Comic Review: Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

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The Sandman series is one of those keystones of the comic industry that I have been meaning to read since not long after I starting reading comics when I was 13, its only taken me 15 years to get around to crossing the first volume off my list, (it actually was on my list of 30 comics to read before I’m Thirty).

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Reading the Sandman was actually spurred on a bit by watching Foxes Lucifer (the comic it was based on is actually a spin off/ sequel of the Sandman) I was curious about the characters, the world and the background.

This volume focuses on Morpheus who is the legendary Sandman, Dream of the Endless, ruler of the Dreamworld. It looks at the consequences of the Sandman’s imprisonment away from the wider universe and how he picks up his life after that imprisonment ends. The story is set in the DC universe seeing cameo appearances from characters such as Wesley Dodds (the golden age Sandman of the JSA), Mister Miracle and the Martian Manhunter of the Justice League International, the Demon Etrigan and the Hellblazer John Constantine, and this was something that surprised me as I had assumed, I now see somewhat erroneously, that comics published under DC Comics Vertigo line were of a separate continuity (similar to the Wildstorm Universe), but it was nice to see a few familiar faces mainly because the familiar is somewhat comforting, especially as I was expecting something completely new and disjointed from what I had read before.

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Neil Gaiman’s writing is something that I’ve often found somewhat hit or miss, I’ve liked things like Stardust and Good Omens, but haven’t been to fond of things such as the Eternals or Neverwhere, and have been on the fence about things such as The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch. But this first instalment of the Sandman is rich and deep, even the minor throwaway characters are well rounded and thought provoking. Its definitely a grown up piece of work with many layers to it, it may even require a re read just to pick up on all the subtle references that Gaiman makes throughout the work.

The artwork provided by Sam Kieth and  Mike Dringenberg is definitely worthy of an adult aimed comic, its visually rich and the colours really stand out, even the black (and there is a lot) somehow manages to still pop out from the page and catch the eye

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Since reading this volume I’ve actually gone out and purchased the rest of the series, the prequel and several spin offs, all because I enjoyed it that much and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the post man to bring me more to devour. And when I’m through with them, you can bet your arse that I’m going to writing some more killer comic reviews on the subject.