This standalone book could well serve as an introduction to the Sandman universe or simply be a collector’s piece. Each story tells about one of the seven Endless siblings – Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium.
Some, like the ones on Death, Desire & Destruction feature them as characters appearing for a very short while in the tales. This is the style of several of the stories in the main Sandman books. The Dream chapter has an important plot turn in the larger Sandman narrative. Despair and Delirium, as perhaps befits their characters have portraitures that convey the ideas they stand for, more through visuals than stories. Destiny alone, has a narrative that is a simple, factual (if somewhat poetic) introduction to the character.
Each story has been illustrated by a different artist and the rendering and narrative style stays true to the tone of the character that the story describes.
My favorite story of all was ‘What I have tasted of Desire’. Milo Manara’s artwork depicts blatant innuendo in each panel, in keeping with the personality of Desire. The story contains my favorite Sandman lines of all: “Most people want things like a candle-flame, flickering, shifting. You, on the other hand, want like a forest fire.”
This is a book I’d give as a gift and treasure my own copy, never to be shared.