REVIEW: DC Black Label’s Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2

As anticipation for Netflix's upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman continues to grow -- DC Black Label continues to expand Gaiman's iconic universe. James Tynion and Lisandro Etherren's The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2 continues to push the universe in bold, horrifying new directions. The beautifully drawn new issue will fascinate and disturb readers in equal measure.

The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2 picks up immediately where the first issue leaves off. The Corinthian examines Flynn's paintings and interrogates her about her knowledge of The Smiling Man. At first, she is reluctant to share with this mysterious, nosy stranger, but when she sees that he has teeth where his eyes should be, she realizes that The Corinthian is somehow connected to her visions and her paintings. For better or worse, The Corinthian is pulled away before either character learns anything of substance. But a trip to the Dreaming makes The Corinthian believe that the young painter is in grave danger.

Tynion IV has done a masterful job building the world of The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country in tandem with the narrative. Flynn and The Corinthian's encounter is a pivotal moment in the story that also helps the reader form a better understanding of the rules of the Dreaming. Similarly, The Corinthian's time in the Dreaming's library introduces a fascinating concept to the reader while providing more context for Flynn's visions. By building the world alongside the plot, Tynion IV is essentially telling two different stories at the same time. This approach helps amplify a sense of just how out of her depth Flynn really is.

While Flynn, the artist at the heart of The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2, seems to have bitten off more than she can chew -- Lisandro Etherren handles this complicated, magical plot wonderfully. His dynamic angles and use of shadows help to heighten the drama of each scene and make every page stand alone as a work of art. Colorist Patricio Delpeche's painterly approach to Etherren's work adds to the dreamy, fluid nature of reality in the story, while highlighting the most frightening elements of Etherren's drawings.

Andrea Sorrentino and Jordie Bellaire appear as a guest art team in The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2. They illustrate the pages that introduce the Dreaming's surreal library. Sorrentino's intricately designed spreads help to illuminate Tynion IV's wild concepts. And the differences between his art and Etherren's help underscore the transition from the realm of waking life to the Dreaming. Bellaire's colors complement many of Delpeche's choices, but she utilizes a distinct array of textures that help to reinforce the contrasting realms.

The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #2 ends with a cliffhanger that will keep fans on pins and needles, anxiously awaiting the third issue. As the story develops both Flynn and the Corinthian are becoming increasingly intriguing, and the Sandman Universe is as inventive and exciting as ever in Tynion IV and Etherren's hands. The guest artists make a meaningful contribution to the tone of the issue. In fact, every element of this second issue seems designed to complement the other aspects of the piece. It is a joy to see a creative team work together this well, and a pleasure to read this series as it continues to take the audience to unexpected places.

Read Next
About The Author