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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Death #1: At Death’s Door

Title: Death #1: At Death’s Door

ISBN: 1563899388

Price: $9.95

Publisher/Year: Vertigo,

Artist: Jill Thompson

Writer: Jill Thompson

Rating: 3.5/5

For those who have not already heard
of it, it's a story of Gaiman's Death, telling events at the same time as Sandman:
Season of Mists
from Death's perspective (and Despair and Delirium). It's entirely
in black and white and is drawn in a very manga style (complete with SD —
severely distorted — versions of the Endless). 

Overall... well, a substantial
portion of the book is a retelling of Sandman: Season of Mists. Some of
it is from a different perspective, but actually quite a lot of it, substantial
chunks of it, are just taken straight from the original but redrawn in manga
style. This is one of my favorite Sandman stories, so I certainly didn't mind
reading it again, but I was expecting a bit more original content. 

In the new content, though, there
are definitely some great moments, and Death is really about as well-written as
she is in Gaiman's own work. Delirium has lots of typical Delirium moments
(although she doesn't seem to reach her trademark level of giddy profundity
nearly as often here), and the other Endless are all well-handled. Well, with
the possible exception of Despair... I can't really point at anything exactly
wrong, but she doesn't feel quite right. Mostly, I think she's just not quite
dark enough. 

The art style, which is really the
main attraction here, is going to be a definite matter of taste. People who
like the manga style and SD characters (severely distorted, usually meaning
characters drawn child-like with utterly exaggerated expressions) will love
this. Personally, I really prefer the standard US comic style, and absolutely
loved the artwork in Sandman: Season of Mists, but this was amusing and
different as a change. In small quantities at least. I think I've now had my
fill of it for a while. I doubt I'm ever going to be a huge fan of manga in
this style; my artistic preferences have always run towards realistic or at
least more traditionally artistic, like the standard Sandman art. 

Don't expect exceptional brilliance
at the level of Sandman or the other two Death miniseries, but recommended for
fans of the series. Particularly recommended if the idea of cute little Endless
screaming at each other with giant sweat drops and hitting each other with
things sounds hilarious.

Yes, I know that this isn’t actually
a trade or graphic novel, but since I have written reviews of the rest of the
Sandman and Death series, I thought I would add this into the mix. Well worth
adding to your collection.

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