I haven’t so much as dipped a toe in the Sandman Universe in quite some time, yet I found it to be just as cool and comfortable as it was when the original series was still being published. Nightmare Country: The Glass House is the latest series in the King of Dream’s pantheon. Much like Dream in the original “Sandman” series, the book’s star, the Corinthian, barely appears but his presence is felt throughout the issue. The Corinthian, a living nightmare, created by Dream, has been unleashed on our world and has set his very unique sights on exploiting American capitalism and a group of latter-day yuppies that find themselves at the mercy of their own desires.
Nightmare Country: The Glass House fits in perfectly with the rest of the Sandman Universe collection in that it is weirdly accessible even to the uninitiated. Additionally, writer James Tynion IV absolutely nails the macabre tone of the series, deftly balancing the horrifically creepy visuals and dark sensibilities with the tragically beautiful nature of Neil Garman’s original works. Casual readers don’t need to know who the Corinthian is or his ties to the King of Dreams in order to care about our protagonist Max and wonder where his ambitions will lead him. Tynion creates a compelling character in Max, someone who is grounded and has not yet given into the darker impulses his colleagues have embraced. How long that will last is anyone’s guess though, really.
The art by Lisandro Estherren is wonderfully eerie – an early scene at a bar features its denizens as grotesque shapes, as if displaying their inner ugliness on the outside as they dance and cavort. Estherren and colorist Patricio Delpeche deliver the perfect visuals to complement Tynion’s creepy-af script. Delpeche’s excellent use of reds and purples certifies the club known as The King of Pain as a literal Hell on Earth, creating an atmosphere that feels hot and claustrophobic – it’s an uneasy feeling to have while reading a funny book but it enriches the experience. Whether you’re new to the world of the Sandman or a veteran, this accessible first issue will hook you and make you want to dive back issue bins and bookshelves for more.
Nightmare Country: The Glass House3.99
Old-school feeling of Vertigo10.0/10
- Writer: James Tynion IV
- Artist: Lisandro Estherren
- Colorist: Patricio Delpeche
- Letterer: Simon Bowland
- Editors: Chris Conroy, Andrea Shea
- Honorable Mention: Neil Gaiman
- Publisher: DC Comics