Hrm, I forgot how much I wasn't in love with the art for some of the Sandman stuff, including this first issue. It's skillful and all, but some of the faces look more like silly putty than, y'know, people. Which bugs me.
Nice touches of dream stuff here and there, like the very first panel where Dude That Barely Appears In This Comic is just waking up after having drifted off. Also a nice touch having the book being read as a goodnight story be Through the Looking Glass.
This first issue is, well, a bit over-the-top with many things, and also more mundane than the rest of the series, which gets more into the mythology and world-building and such. But it works as an introduction, at least, and as a setting things up in order to knock them down or mess around with them later on.
The main thing that interests me is my shift in view since when I first read this ages ago, regarding Alex and his father. I'm pretty sure I had a lot more sympathy for Alex before because he wasn't as actively evil, and in some ways had a tiger by the tail that he couldn't let go of, when it wasn't even him that grabbed the tail in the first place. Now though? I have a lot less sympathy, since he's still doing wrong by passively going along with everything his father taught him, keeping Dream prisoner, and he's pretty much also admitted to killing people and other such things. Unless that's a bluff. His father, on the other hand, was a more active asshole to put it mildly, but at least he went for what he wanted, and didn't just sit around wringing his hands about "it wasn't my fault!" I guess I still think he's scum and deserved worse than he got, but at least I respect him more for it, in some ways. Maybe "respect" isn't the right word but.. you know what I mean. I hope. I think.
What a revenge to take on him, though! That's just... wow. Fate worse than death, indeed.
I'm also especially interested in anyone reading this for the first time, and curious about your own reactions and thoughts just one issue in. Because I know what we're in for down the line, but it's been so long, and frankly I never started here at the beginning to start with, so... I'm curious!
I'm also noticing things like the many alternate bolded words, which get a bit silly, same as with Understanding Comics. But oh well.
Notes: A lot of the references I'm not sure about! So if anyone has any to add, feel free!
I"d lie to see Aleister and his friends try to make fun of me!": This would of course be a reference to Aleister Crowley.
Wesley Dodds: The shape of Dream's helm and the small reference to Wesley Dodds seem to be an attempt to shoehorn this into the regular DC Comics continuity, as he was the Golden Age hero/noir character the Sandman, and apparently his gas mask is supposed to be hearkening back to Dream's own helm. Personally? I always found that helm silly, but to each his/her own.
Here's the rest of the schedule. And let me know if anyone wants a spoiler post as well to discuss things.