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On Sunday I finally finished listening to The Sandman Audio drama Act 2. And… I loved it. Yet again, James McAvoy’s delivery of Morpheus’s dialogue either exactly matches what I expected or pleasantly surprised me for being better than I expected. I feared he might have damaged his voice doing the shouting for Lucifer.
I feel there was a definite step-up in quality with the second act of The Sandman Audio drama. The music is excellent and atmospheric. The tone and mood are perfect.
The plot mostly deals with Morpheus finally realizing he was wrong to leave his former lover in Hell. (Who would have thought?) and him going to Hell to rescue her only to find out Lucifer has quit and is shutting the place down. Lucifer leaves Morpheus the key to Hell and Morpheus is forced to deal with entities of myth and folklore all vying for the “Prime psychic real estate” that is Hell. After that there are several semi-stand alone short stories (most of which become important later or already are important and you just don’t realize it yet) and a story about roommates saving their friend from the perils of the very fantasy world she used to escape to as a child.
Some of the best moments include line deliveries such as Morpheus’s reaction to Lucifer saying he has quit. He sounds so delightfully baffled. You can really sense what he’s feeling and thinking through his line delivery. It’s kind of ironic that we were given an excuse against letting Morpheus have his black-void and star-flare eyes in The Sandman Netflix series that suggested it hindered his acting. It is ironic when the version of Morpheus we don’t even see on camera (the one played by the great James McAvoy) is able to act so well, perhaps better than characters he has actually played on camera, that there isn’t the slightest bit of difficulty to figure out what he’s thinking and feeling from line delivery alone. I don’t have enough words to praise how good James McAvoy’s portrayal of Morpheus truly is.
Morpheus scolding Shivering Jenny when she tried to intimidate him actually made me laugh out loud. It’s the delivery that made it.
The voices of Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland are heartbreaking because it makes you realize just how truly young and tragic they were. I actually get angry at Death in that story because I can’t fathom any justification for leaving poor Edwin in Hell even if he thought he would go there because he wasn’t a perfect kid or because of how he was killed. I just can’t accept it. But this is true to the original source material and no fault of the audio drama.
The Thermidor chapter is absolutely wonderful. Hearing Regé-Jean Page singing as Orpheus, in phoenetic Greek, is haunting and beautiful. It gave me chills. In the Parliament of Rooks chapter, The ‘Lil Endless are adorable and also hilarious. Though I was told in advance about it, hearing ‘lil Morpheus’s voice took me by surprise.
I love the voice of Eve. It’s strangely soothing. The casting here was, yet again, perfect.
What changes were made to A Game of You, I feel were positive and reasonable alterations. Wanda is still tragic and she still has to deal with a painful amount of transphobia from horrible people, including her own family. It’s too real and I know it hits close to home for a lot of people. A trans masculine friend of mine cried when he learned the Wanda story, not because he was offended, but because he was so moved and even comforted that Neil seemed to “get it” and he suddenly didn’t feel so alone with how his own family was treating him. He realized others went through it too and it made him feel a little better to know that.
I love the scoring in this audio drama, the music is very atmospheric. The whole thing is very immersive.
This audio book / audio drama is so wonderful that I want to listen to it again in the very near future but pace myself more slowly so that I may savor it now. I feel like I had rushed through it the first time.
All the flaws and faults I have with The Sandman: Act 2 are mostly nitpicks, some of which exist in the original comics such as loathing the logic in how Hell works or the idea that Hell is even necessary for Heaven- it’s really not. Duality isn’t always needed, nor necessary, though sometimes I wish The Sandman did have more of a duality theme such as allowing Daniel as Dream and Morpheus to co-exist but I digress.
Another nitpick is Wanda sounds quite a lot like she has a Long Island accent, which is strange since she’s supposed to be from Kansas, however, Wanda seemed to take pride in living in New York so she may have picked up the accent or fakes the accent so that is plausible.
My biggest nitpick is really quite petty. In a narration about Hell we’re told it was once called Tartarus. This is odd since in another story (Song of Orpheus) we know the God Hades is real and Tararus is a separate place entirely with a whole other mythology attached to it. Orpheus, for example, ends up in Elysium (Greek Heaven) and we see him there in The Sandman: The Wake but that’s not in Act 2 of the Audio drama.
I am still not that big of a fan of Kat Denning’s Death, probably because I already really liked the voice in the fan made motion comic of Sound of her wings up on youtube and Jamie Chung in the DC Showcase Death animated short (bonus feature on the Wonder Woman bloodlines Blu-Ray disc). But Kat Dennings plays the part well and likely is delivering the lines the way we are meant to hear them. Over-all I love The Sandman audio drama and its second act.
I hope more books are adapted as full-cast audio dramas with this much consideration and care with the casting, acting, sound effects, music, and atmosphere. This could be the next step in the evolution of storytelling.
Brilliant cast of top-notch voice talent, flawless and immersive production, everything I was led to expect and so much more. Minor quibbles - the enclosed sticker art is exactly the same as what came with the first act, and the "beautifully crafted booklet" DOES NOT outline any of the episodes, as did the booklet with the first act. It's as if a number of pages are missing. Luckily, I'm retired and looking for a new hobby - I'll just write my own episode guide. A great excuse to give it repeat listenings (as if I needed an excuse).
To anyone having playback issues: this is NOT in CD format; it is a collection of MP3 files that you will need to UPLOAD/SAVE to your computer before proceeding. In other words, while with CDs you can just pop it into your computer's disc drive and "burn" it into iTunes, with this you will need to open the CD drive file window, copy+paste (or drag) the individual files onto your desktop or into a folder, and THEN add them to iTunes from there. Keep in mind that iTunes needs a source file to access and play, so if you don't save the files off the disc, iTunes won't be able to find those files once you eject the disc. I completely understand the frustration, but it's just a couple of steps, and is ultimately quicker and easier than sitting there while iTunes burns the CDs into MP3 format anyway. For those of you hoping to play these discs in a regular compact disc player - for instance your car - you will have to save these files into your computer and THEN burn your own CDRs as playlists through iTunes or some equivalent program. I don't know how many discs that would end up being, but it will certainly be more than just one. Enjoy!!!
I had purchased the compact disc first Sandman audible release last year, was extremely pleased with it, and was a shoo-in to follow up when all additional volumes were released. As release date for Sandman Act II approached, I received the expected e-mail that suggested that I buy based on my previous purchase, and I promptly placed an order thinking I was getting the exact same format as the first volume. When it arrived, I learned that though it was recorded on 'Audio CD' as per the description, the CDs contained MP3 audio of the story on two discs, not the more conventional CD's that spread the first volume over a twelve disc set. When I ordered the first one, I very specifically wanted it to be playable on my existing devices that I used to still enjoy my extensive compact disc music collection. I didn't want to download it, I didn't want to stream it from a subscription service- I wanted to be able to enjoy it on my stereo, my blu-ray player, and most importantly, my portable disc-device, so I could enjoy Neil Gaiman's fantasy opus at my leisure while doing other things. None of my devices except my desktop computer has the capacity to play MP3 audio directly off the discs. I don't recall that an MP3 audio option was even available for the first volume, and find it very misleading that the MP3 version of Act II is the default 'physical' option offered on the main page via a button that identifies it as an 'Audio CD', while the multi-disc physical media version is only visible via the 'see all formats and editions' link. I appreciate the 'because you bought this, you should buy...' attentiveness that Amazon puts so much effort into, but I guess I was wrong to assume that they would solicit the sequel to one of the products I purchased in the same format that I got the first time.
This is a masterful continuation of the wonderful adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, in a more convenient 2-disc MP3 format. The 3 stickers are the same as in Act I, and (despite a packaging claim otherwise) the booklet does not have so much as a listing of episodes, much less details, but seems to list every single actor and bit roles, which is extensive and glorious. The true joy is in listening to the immersive episodes themselves. Bring in Act III!