Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 (2022) by James Tynion IV, Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette

As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic, I’m always curious to read any new titles set in the same universe. I bought a copy of Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 which came out today, Tuesday April 12th 2022 priced $3.99. It’s written by James Tynion IV and has art by Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette. Here’s my initial reaction/review of the comic. I will be making a video review for my YouTube channel after I finish work tonight.

*Some SPOILERS for the first issue.*

I’ve read the issue twice and would rate it 6 out of 10, mostly for the gorgeous art. I don’t know what to make of James Tynion anymore. I used to think he was a good writer capable of exciting and compelling comic book stories. Now I’m not so sure. The first three pages of this opening issue read like a creative writing exercise. Tynion uses an abundance of text bubbles to describe a couple of main character Flynn’s dreams in less-than-thrilling detail. From this we learn that Flynn was bullied in high school and she currently believes the world is turning to crap.

It gets much more interesting on page 4 where funnily enough there is no dialogue. Instead we get a purely visual piece of storytelling in which Flynn appears to glimpse something weird and horrific at the party she’s attending. On the dancefloor she sees an obese creature with tongues hanging out of its eyes. It’s a creepy image and acts as a taster of things to come. Incidentally, I’ve heard in interviews that the creative team are returning Sandman to its horror roots, a direction I am looking forward to. Let’s hope they really do it.

Lisandro Estherren’s interior art from page 5

After this scene, we catch up with Flynn and her boyfriend back at Flynn’s apartment. This time we see into the boyfriend’s dream-we don’t learn his name unless I completely missed it. He is dreaming of a good-looking man dressed in white who takes off his sunglasses to reveal teeth in each eye socket. For any Sandman fans out there, this is cover star and favourite nightmare The Corinthian. He asks Flynn’s boyfriend about the paintings decorating her apartment. Each painting shows strange creatures and figures with mouths for eyes.

Next, we are treated to 4 pages of co-artist Yanick Paquette’s beautiful art where we visit the Dreaming and learn about The Corinthian’s origin. Dream Lord Morpheus created him as a Nightmare who acts as a “dark mirror and tormentor of humanity.” I’ll never forget his debut in The Dolls House story from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman run. He was both attractive and terrifying-a truly compelling character. That’s a big recommend from me by the way, especially for any horror comic fans out there-an excellent early story from Gaiman.

Variant Cover by Yanick Paquette

Flynn’s boyfriend leaves after telling her she should cover up her paintings with sheets or something: “They’re real nightmare fuel!” As he is making his way out of the building, a man dressed in white and wearing a pair of sunglasses passes him on the stairway. He knocks on Flynn’s door. KNOCK KNOCK! When she answers, he barges into her apartment and starts asking about her paintings.

The scene then switches to a seaside pier. A bleeding man is crawling along the pier away from a couple of strange figures in black suits. We learn their names are Mister Agony and Mister Ecstasy. Mister Ecstasy has a number of hooks attached to his face which are stretching his skin back. Mister Agony is wearing a gimp hood which covers his eyes. His mouth is showing through an open zipper. The bleeding man asks them why they’re doing this. Mister Ecstasy tells him it’s because of what he witnessed, a secret that he’s about to take to his grave. And that’s where I’ll end my review.

Beautifully illustrated by both artists, but for me it was a fairly disappointing opening issue. There were some intriguing moments which bode well for the future. But I will be looking for more from writer James Tynion IV if I’m going to keep buying this series.

How about you? Have you read any of the Sandman comics? Are you going to pick up this debut issue? Have you read anything by James Tynion before? Are you a fan of his comic book work? Please let me know in the comments.

As always, thank you for reading.

-Wakizashi, *trying to get used to the early-summer temperatures which kicked in at the weekend. 80 degrees is unusual for early April.*

My 8 minute Video Review

4 thoughts on “Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 (2022) by James Tynion IV, Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette

  1. Yeah, this week is looking warm for us too. Not quite 80, but breaking the 70degree mark.

    I’ve seen Sandman but between the horror and Gaimans worldview never read any of it. I hope the series works out better for you than this first volume.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I likely won’t pick this one up but I am very curious to try Gaiman’s Sandman at some point. Not sure why I never did, and I didn’t start reading his novels until I’d mostly stopped reading comics. But I have enjoyed some of his books (absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was pretty lucky with the timing. When Sandman was coming out, I’d begun to leave comics like Spider-Man and Daredevil behind and I found it by chance. I think it was via an ad in Hellblazer and my brother recommending it. I recommend reading the whole series. It’s 75 issues, so it’s a fair commitment.

      Liked by 1 person

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