Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: P. Craig Russell
Published: December 2008
Rare is the day that I get excited over a Neil Gaiman comic. I've never been a big fan of the guy's work, but I've also never read any of his Sandman stuff (besides The Dreaming # 55 which wasn't even written by him). The first books of his that I read were 1602 and Eternals, so as you can plainly understand, I wasn't starting on a good foot with him. But, against my better judgment I picked up this issue and whoa Dadio do I like it.
Issue one begins with a fox and a badger placing a bet that whoever can drive the lone monk out, gets to live in the vacated temple he lives by. Each using illusions, they each take turns trying to force the monk out. These illusions are of demons, imperial guards, and a fleeing woman. The monk is no fool, and easily sees through their disguises. However, during the tricks, the fox ends up falling in love with the monk. She ends up learning of plot concocted by some real demons who plan on killing him. The issue ends with her sacrificing what is most valuable to her to figure out a way to save him.
By the way, spoiler alert! WHAMMY!
Honestly, I try not to give away the story to the comics I review, but with these tough economic times it can be difficult to choose between a cheap review or food, so someone has to make the economic sacrifice and get these stories out to folks. Plus, I figure I owe Gaiman a chance to redeem himself, even though my initial impulse to buy the comic was strictly because of P. Craig Russell's fabulous artwork. (That'll be just between me and you though; and by you, I mean my girlfriend, cause she's the only one who reads this blog aka Destroyer of Time & My Health. "Hi Sweetheart! What's that? Where's the food I was supposed to buy? Well here's the deal: I had to choose between dinner and giving Gaiman a chance to redeem himself...")