Feeling lazy, I will let this review serve as my review of the entire series.
If you are at ALL interested in mythology, art, literature, dreams, how literature has changed in recent years, or just generally, big ideas, this series is for you! Neil Gaiman
is an amazing writer, loved by millions, and this is the series that helped him hone his writing chops.
If you're unfamiliar with the conceit of this series, allow me to fill you in. Dream, Morpheus, the Sandman (he's got several more names than this, but you get the idea) is one of the Endless: seven siblings who are above the gods, helping to steer reality. In the first book, we find that he's been held captive for 70 years, and this has wreaked havoc on people's sleep/storytelling/sense of reality. Once he gains release, he has to set the universe back to rights (as he does in later issues/volumes) and has to find his way to a "new normal" once he's gone through profound changes.
In this volume, he hovers off in the distance and just plays background roles in order to keep things moving along. In my favorite story in the series, he has commissioned Shakespeare to create "A Midsummer's Night Dream" for a former paramour. We witness a very special performance of the play, as well as the events that take place leading up to, during and immediately after the performance.
I adored reading the entire series because of the incredible artwork done by an entire stable of artists and because of the amazing storytelling skills on display by Gaiman. If you read the series volume by volume, in sequential order, you can see how he gradually developed into the author recognizable today. In this apprenticeship (he wrote an issue a month for nine years), he had to develop an incredible work ethic and figure out how to unleash his creativity without driving himself crazy. It's an amazing accomplishment, and one that I feel privileged to have witnessed.