The tenth and final collection of the original Neil Gaiman Sandman run, entitled The Wake, collects the four-part title story arc plus two other epilogues, respectively called “Exiles” and “The Tempest.” So it’s an epilogue and then another epilogue and a final epilogue. (If we leave out the follow-up stories by Gaiman written elsewhere.)
That’s a Peter Jackson Lord of the Ringsy kind of way to wrap it up, isn’t it?
But if you’ve sat through the extended editions of Lord of the Rings, you know that the endings upon endings feel properly paced and well-deserved. The same is true for Neil Gaiman and Sandman. Though it sometimes feels as if the entire second half of the series is about saying goodbye, “The Wake” and the two single-issue stories that follow are earned and resonant. And while they may not be strictly necessary—I think you could end your reading of Sandman with The Kindly Ones, drop the book, and strut away like a champ, though that would be weird and unnecessary unless your name is “Neil” and “Gaiman”—the stories collected in The Wake provide closure to the larger story and additional flavor to the Sandman mythology.