Neil Gaiman – Death: The Time of Your Life
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
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.
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.