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Death: The High Cost of Living

(Words by Neil Gaiman, art by Chris Bacchalo and Mark Buckingham Trade paperback published by Vertigo/DC)

For some people, Death of the Endless is their favourite character from the Sandman series. She's cutely pretty, eternally perky and down to earth. Unsurprisingly, starring in her own mini-series, she is much the same. Except that it isn't exactly Death of the Endless, here. Once a year, Death takes on mortal human form, and this book is about the incarnation named Didi. She looks just like Death, she behaves just like Death, but she isn't exactly Death, even though she thinks she is.

If you've read Sandman (I think everyone should read Sandman), you might recognise some of the supporting characters, but the other protagonist of the story is Sexton, a mixed-up adolescent with mixed-up parents. He's feeling the usual adolescent suicidal angst, until he finds himself spending time with Didi, who is too busy expressing and discovering the wonders of life to notice.

As usual, Neil Gaiman's writing is superb here. The expression of Sexton's feelings is spot-on, and the characterisation is not as two-dimensional as in some other comics. The artwork is a delight to look at, gorgeously easy on the eye, with at least two of the supporting characters looking much-improved from their debut in the early issues of Sandman. Overall, the effect is one that will draw you back for repeated reading.

http://www.best.com/~teleute/ -- popular Sandman related site.

Anna Jellinek

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