Since I liked this volume so much, I decided to do a review of each issue again. General opinion: I adored the stories within stories within a story. Those are my favorite in general, and Neil Gaiman did a grand job! I also loved the characters and the references to previous volumes (but we all know this already). And could the dedication get any cuter? This volume was just perfect. Now, onto the issues!
A Tale of Two Cities – I didn’t much like the art of this story. You know me, I have problems with change. I did, however, really enjoy the idea that cities sleep and dream. I tried to imagine what NYC would dream about if it could. In any case, I have promised myself never to get on the subway with Dream. This story was clearly not my favorite because when I went back to review them here, I forgot what it was about. Whoops.
Cluracan’s Tale – Oh Cluracan, you’re so pretty! I liked this tale better than the first, though it wasn’t my favorite either. My favorite part of this issue was when Cluracan began starting riots in the city. He went from being some fluff of a nutter to a more serious and cooler character. I am glad this piece came when it did. For some reason, it made Cluracan’s drunk drooling later even funnier.
Hob’s Leviathan – I didn’t realize Mr. Gadling was Hob until I started writing this! Hob! I love Hob! The two-page spread of the leviathan was also pretty frickin’ sweet. I made everyone at the gym look at it. And when I say everyone, I mostly mean Carolyn because she was walking next to me. When I got to this story, I was beginning to think that they were arranged by how interesting they were.
The Golden Boy – This story was grand. It reminded me a bit of Watchmen with it’s tale of what America would be like if the presidents had been different and all the yellow smiley faces everywhere. I really liked Prez as a character, and Boss Smiley was prefectly creepy. Now whenever I picture God, I will always think of him like that. I was incredibly pleased by Prez’s decision to move on and help other Americas. I wonder when he’s going to find our world. There is one point in the middle when someone (I forgot who) tells Prez that presidents can never do anything while they’re in the White House. He explains that everyone hates the current president while he/she are there, and then once they occupy some space in a history book, the population looks at them more favorably. I thought about this for a long time. It’s kind of true, isn’t it?
Cerements – Here is where the story within a story within a story within a story really got good. I got so excited when we finally got to see Destruction again, only to realize it was the fourth story being told (see first sentence). Like a carefully folded paper crane, I was able to keep track of everyone’s part and when it finally all came together, I couldn’t have been happier. This also brought up the question: What do we owe the dead? I like that places can be remade and what we take to be the first of something, may not actually be the first. And perhaps it isn’t even important that there was another version. I may have missed a few clues, but I was unsure who died. I assume it is the same person who is being mourned for in the funeral scene? Actually, hold those thoughts, let me move on to the next issue.
World’s End – This issue was such a grand finale. I loved the art of the funeral procession through the sky. Unrelated: Death’s dress is awesome. I think I might like to make something like that. Anyway, I’ve decided that World’s End is what was on the other side of that crack in Doctor Who. You know, the one that sucked up people so they never existed? Yep, I figured it all out. Gah! Sorry, I’ll stay on topic! When I was looking through the faces following the casket, I saw several characters I had met in previous issues. I hope I find out who died in one of the next two volumes (though I trust Neil not to leave it unexplained). I really hope I didn’t miss a major clue.
All in all, this volume is my favorite so far. Storytelling is very important to me, and to read an entire work that focuses on nothing just how incredibly important it is to tell tales? I was in Heaven. I loved the ending. I thought the last two stories were brilliant. Also, I really liked that at the end you find out that the guy (Brant? Grant? GBrant?) is telling the story, so my excitement over Crements grew even more. Five stories! Five! Neil Gaiman, you are a genius! I give this volume a star for every story in Cerements!