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Neil Gaiman – Death: The Time of Your Life

May 26, 2009

62. Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Mark Pennington (1997)
The Sandman: Death, Book 2

Length: 96 pages

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Started: 22 May 2009
Finished: 23 May 2009

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I’m trying to polish off as many Sandman spinoffs as my library will give me.

Making a deal with
Death of the Endless has some
real consequences.

Summary: This stand-alone comic features Death of the Endless, everyone’s favorite cheerful goth girl. However, the story mostly stars two other familiar faces from the Sandman series, Hazel and Foxglove. Foxglove is now a famous musician, flying all over the world for tours, photo shoots, and interviews. She’s also been closeted by her manager for the sake of her career, so Hazel is living in L.A. with her son, and being treated as if she’s Foxglove’s secretary as they drift apart. But the lives of those who have been touched by the Endless are never free from complications, as both Hazel and Foxglove will learn…

Review: I wish I’d had read this book closer to the Sandman volume in which Hazel and Foxglove first appear… or at least known to pay better attention to them at the time. They were somewhat peripheral to the main story, and not really ever my favorite characters, so while I know that they were involved, for the life of me I can’t quite remember how (or details like who Alfie’s father is, etc.) I also am reading this out of order of the other Death spin-off, but I don’t think that matters quite as much – I caught what I assume was a reference to what happens in the first one, but it’s brief. In any case, the bulk of what *happens* in this story would be understandable to someone who’s new to the Sandman world, but I think that the more familiar with the universe you are, the more resonance it’s going to have.

The artwork in Time of Your Life is an interesting juxtaposition of short, choppy panels and big, sweeping, detailed painting, and is all gorgeously done. The story is well-told and has a slight mythic feel to it, although at heart it’s pretty standard fare that doesn’t feel like Gaiman is stepping too far out of his comfort zone. Mostly, though, for having her name on the title, I felt like there wasn’t enough of Death. Hazel and Foxglove are fine characters, but Death spends most of the book listening and nodding compassionately – which, while I get that that’s what she does, effectively served to take the focus off of the character I most wanted to read about. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: An interesting and quick story featuring some Sandman alums, but I didn’t think it was quite up to the standard set by the best of the main-series volumes… which, admittedly, was a tall order to fill. Still, Sandman fans should enjoy it, and newcomers will hopefully be intrigued enough to check out the main books.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: I know for a fact some of you out there have read it, but I couldn’t find any bloggy reviews. If I missed yours, leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it here.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 3:09 am

    I actually read this before A Game of You, so when I got to that one I already knew Foxglove and Hazel. They’re also in the first Death volume, which is one of my favourite books ever! You’re right; reading them in order doesn’t matter much. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

  2. May 26, 2009 7:51 am

    I want to read more Gaiman, but don’t think I’ll try this one next. Thanks for the review.

  3. May 26, 2009 5:47 pm

    I really must read more of Gaiman’s graphic novels. I have only read one and it was a few years ago!

  4. May 27, 2009 10:01 am

    Nymeth – I’m on the hold list for High Cost of Living at the library; now I’m even more excited for it! I think reading this before Game of You might actually have been better – you’d have had a better idea of what parts of the story to pay attention to. I ran up against that time and again in Sandman – there was so much going on, and I was never sure which parts were going to be important later. Guess that means I need to re-read!

    bermudaonion – Yeah, this one certainly wasn’t bad, but it’s not the top of the stack, either. Have you read Stardust? That’s my favorite Gaiman, and definitely what I’d recommend next for you.

    Kailana – Which one?

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