Monday, October 9, 2023

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 Review

Written by: Robert Venditti
Art by: Riley Rossmo
Colors by: Ivan Plasencia
Letters by: Tom Napolitano
Cover art by: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 10, 2023

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 Takes readers back to 1940 New York, where Wesley Dodds, aka Sandman, petitions the military to use his research for non-lethal warfare. Unfortunately, Dark Forces want to use his notes for deadly purposes.
Is Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 Good?

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 is the first DC Comic from their Golden Age trilogy by Superstar writer Robert Venditti and artist Riley Rossmo. Venditti takes Sandman back to his roots in 1940 New York, where the lead character seeks to use his knowledge and scientific discoveries for the betterment of mankind. The story is filled with plenty of pulp action and has a distinctly serial feel from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Readers interested in the Sandman character will find this issue an excellent jumping-on point, but readers familiar with Sandman will not feel like they are receiving rehashed or regurgitated information.

Robert Venditti's script centers on Wesley Dobbs stalking the night streets of New York City as the Sandman to defeat crime in any form or fashion. Dodds seeks to present his findings about his chemical gas experiments to the military as a means of engaging in non-lethal warfare. What better way to capture the enemy than to put them all to sleep instead of maiming or killing them? Unfortunately, Dodds's plan for non-lethal Warfare is met with resistance by the military. Behind the scenes, a secret enemy breaks into Dodds's lab to steal his research for field experiments that have very lethal outcomes.

Let's get the elephant in the middle of the room out of the way. What about Riley Rossmo's art? It's better. It's no secret I have not been a fan of Rossmo's art after the disastrous run on Harley Quinn and the equally disastrous run on Tim Drake: Robin. Rossmo's grotesque, distorted art is more than an acquired taste, and there was some concern when he was announced on this title. Thankfully Rossmo's presentation here is much better. You still have the typical Rossmo affectations of melted, oddly warped faces and twinkle toes, but overall, the musculature and the anatomy work are much better, the settings look great, and this has a very grounded, pleasant visual appeal.

What’s great about Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1? On the whole, I like the story very much. Robert Venditti is crafting a classic pulp Adventure in the same vein as The Spider or The Shadow, with the Sandman at the heart of the adventure. The pacing, dialogue, and general atmosphere of the story have that classic, grounded crime noir feel, but there's a little bit of a modern twist in that you see a brief connection to the recent Geoff Johns JSA run. Readers who like Pulp Adventure and Crime Noir stories with a little bit of a hero twist will like this comic very much.

What’s not so great about Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1? At a macro level nothing. This is a fine comic, and folks who are interested in seeing the Sandman in a rousing adventure will enjoy this comic very much.

How's the art? Again, Riley Rossmo's art is very stylized and very much an acquired taste. That said, this is a much better presentation of Rossmo's work. You still have a few of the trademark Rossmo affectations like distorted faces and pointy twinkle toes, but for the most part, the composition of the panels looks great. The action and the drama feel grounded and detailed, and this is just an overall pleasant-looking comic.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 does what it sets out to do. If you're a Sandman fan, there's a lot to like in this comic. The action, pacing, drama, and story are all firmly entrenched in the Golden Age of crime noir serial films, and Rossmo's art is surprisingly good compared to his previous work.


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