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Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Sleep of Reason

by John Ney Rieber and Eric Nguyen (SLJ)

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Format: Softcover, full color, $14.99

ISBN: 978-1-4012-1454-8

Reviewed by: School Library Journal

On assignment in the Middle East, dispassionate photojournalist Keiren Marshall finds himself embroiled in a terrorist plot to detonate a series of suicide bombs in Jerusalem. After escaping a kidnapping attempt by the terrorist leader, he is left wounded and disfigured–and in a chance encounter, finds the abandoned weaponry and equipment of the storied crime fighter Sandman. Despite being tortured by hellish dreams (a product of both his consciousness and the sleeping gas), he must rely on the inherited gas-gun, his own fighting skills, and the help of two brave orphans to reverse the dastardly plot–and to deal with situations and people that he used to merely photograph. With a plot drawn from today’s headlines, both the author and artist succeed in creating a taut, thrilling reinvention of DC's classic series that harks back to its "hard-boiled" origins while remaining accessible and modern. A unique element of this title is how the art changes as the plot progresses; starting off in a clean, precise pen-and-ink style, the art slowly becomes misty watercolors. It’s an interesting parallel to the protagonist’s psychological journey from cynical journalist to idealistic crime fighter, as well as indicative of his growing mental imbalance. A first choice for teens with an interest in action and current events.  – Dave Inabnitt, Brooklyn Public Library, NY