Graphic Novel Review: The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You

by Neil Gaiman, Shawn McManus (Illustrator), Colleen Doran (Illustrator), Bryan Talbot (Illustrator), George Pratt (Illustrator), Stan Woch (Illustrator), Dick Giordano (Illustrator), Todd Klein (Letterer) 
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Format: Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror/Mythology
Release Date: March 5th, 2019 (First Published January 1st, 1992)

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Sometimes I end up with a bit of a double-edged sword with graphic novels; I pick up a relatively popular series, read an issue or five, and at some point the TV adaptation gets announced. Inevitably I’m only a handful of issues in before the series is released, which is great as usually I love the graphic novels and get excited to see them on screen, but what ends up happening is whereas I got volume 1, 2, 3 etc second-hand for around £5 or less, they shoot up in price. Or become very difficult to get my hands on, without splurging for ‘new editions’ – basically, I don’t know when I’ll be able to read Volume 6, because it’s a touch out of my price range for the time being.

Which is really bloody annoying as I want to continue with this series so badly! Every step of The Sandman has been brilliant, from the moment we first met Morpheus, to the end of Volume 5 with the iconic scene. Is the trans representation here perfect? Absolutely not, but I know Wanda has been incredibly meaningful to so many, and quite honestly reading this now in a graphic novel originally published in 1992, I was kind of impressed. And angry. Not at the writers, but at the treatment of Wanda by the other characters, who continually refuse to see her for who she truly is.

Okay, let’s rewind a little. We met Barbie previously in The Doll’s House, but we meet her now post-divorce, forging ahead with a life for herself in an apartment house with various others. A Game of You reminded me of why, once I do eventually get all volumes, I need to go back and re-read them closer together. There are some great links here with previous tales, and as things unfold, we see how the volume and Barbie fit into the larger Sandman story.

All the women here are struggling, in different ways, and facing their own personal problems before they find themselves getting involved in something most of them don’t understand. It expands the world brilliantly – as almost every volume does – and shows how far reaching the problems Morpheus is facing are. It’s really hard to say too much without giving a whole lot away, but overall I found A Game of You to be an absolutely solid example of a graphic novel, the art was effective and perfectly captured the tone, and I loved how this tied back into Morpheus. If you haven’t picked up The Sandman at all yet, the first four are great but A Game of You really solidifies why this is such a strong, beloved, and excellent series.

Related Reviews

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes / Vol. 2: The Doll’s House / Vol. 4: Season of Mists


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