Classic Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 21-24

Welcome to a series that I am continuing. I am going to go through Neil Gaiman’s now-classic series The Sandman

Issue # 21

Title: Season of Mists: Prologue

Artist: Mike Drigenberg & Malcolm Jones III

Collected in:Season of Mists

Plot: his garden, Destiny unexpectedly meets the grey ladies. They warn that a king will forsake his kingdom, life and death will clash and fray, the oldest battle will begin once more, and all these things have their genesis in the garden. The fates disappear without further explanation, and Destiny calls his family together for the first time in ages.

Each of the Endless arrives, one by one. First Death, then Dream, then Desire, Despair, and finally Delirium. The “prodigal” has abandoned them years ago. Destiny explains that the upshot of his meeting with the fates is that something big is coming and the inciting incident will occur at this very meeting, somehow. He steps back and simply encourages his brother and sisters to speak to each other.

Desire cannot resist needling her elder brother, Dream. She begins to mock his failed romantic relationships. She goes so far as to criticize his treatment of Nada, having imprisoned her in Hell for eternity, all out of pride. Dream is enraged by Desire’s teases, and storms out.

Death goes to him and tries to calm him. Despite her sympathy for him, Death explains that Desire was right. Nada didn’t deserve her punishment, and her choice not to become a goddess was her own. Dream realizes the error of his ways and determines to set things right by going to Hell and arranging Nada’s release with Lucifer. He says goodbye to his sister, and leaves her hoping that he will survive the ordeal.

When Death returns to the table, Destiny reveals that they are no longer needed, as Dream’s return to Hell is the incident that he was waiting for.

First appearance: Delirium of the Endless

Keep an eye on: We’re going to hear that prophecy again.

My take Destiny calls everyone because his book told him to. Is Destiny ever able to make a decision?


Issue #22

Title: Season of Mists: Chapter One

Artist: Kelley Jones & Malcolm Jones III

Collected in: Season of Mists

Plot: his Ghost Castle, Dream calls forth all its inhabitants to hear him speak. He warns that he will be leaving soon, and may not return. He is going to Hell to offer forgiveness to his once mortal lover Nada, whom he wrongly imprisoned there out of pride. Unfortunately, on his last visit to Hell, he incurred the anger of Lucifer, and if he faces him again, he may not return.

Sandman 22-04

Dream sends Cain as his emissary to speak with Lucifer. Cain warns that regardless of the fallen angel’s permission, the Lord of Dreams is coming. The other demons hope to kill the messenger, but Lucifer warns that the Mark of Cain 1 symbolizes the creator’s protection over him.

Elsewhere, Lyta Hall introduces her friend Carla to her newborn son. After Carla has left, Lyta is sres Dream standing over the baby’s crib. Dream is fascinated by the idea that a child managed to gestate somehow within the Dreaming. At Lyta’s request he leaves, but not before informing her that the boy’s name is Daniel. 2

Dream makes one more visit to Hob Gadling in a dream. Dream offers him a gift of a rare wine and explains that he may not be able to make it to their next meeting. Hob offers a toast to absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every person always give the devil his due. Hob wakes from his dream beside his girlfriend, to find the bottle of wine sitting on his nightstand.

Later, Cain returns to the castle, and with his warning sent, Dream dons his helm, and makes preparations to venture into the depths of Hell.

First appearance: Daniel Hall, who will have a major role to play. Carla, who will show up later. Mazakeen, who will stand by her man

Historical references: The books on Lucien’s shelf:

  • “The Lost Road,” J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The Man who Would be October,” G.K. Chesterson
  • “Poitcesme Babylon,” James Branch Carol
  • “The Conscience of Sherlock Holmes,” Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “The Return of Edmund Drood,” Charles Dickens
  • “The Hand of Glory,” Erasmus Frye 3
  • “The Dark God’s Darlings,” Lord Dunsant
  • “Love Can Be Murder,” Raymond Chandlier
  • “Psmith and Jeeves,” P.G. Wodehouse

My take Morpheus must have really come around to valuing his friendship with Hob. Dream thinks he is may die and he visits Daniel, almost like anointing his successor.


Issue #23

Title: Season of Mists: Chapter Two

Artist: Kelley Jones & Malcolm Jones III

Collected in: Season of Mists

Plot: Synopsis for “Season of Mists: Chapter 2” Dream makes his way through the front gates of Lucifer’s domain. However, he finds the place strangely empty. Seeking out Nada, he finds her cell empty. He realizes that it is not just Nada who is missing, but the entire population of Hell is in Absence.

Dream demands answers as to what’s happened, and Lucifer responds simply that he’s quit. As a result of this decision, he has freed everyone imprisoned in hell, and they have dispersed to any number of places. There are, however, a few stragglers, and Dream accompanies him to send them away. One such straggler is Breschau, who believes that his punishment is justified for all of the horrific crimes he committed nearly 1100 years ago.

Lucifer explains to Dream that he thinks his fall from Heaven was not so much a rebellion as an event orchestrated by God; merely a destined outcome to be played out. Now, he has decided that he is done with his lot, and he takes up the key to lock each of the gateways to Hell.

With the final gate closed, Lucifer is surprised to be accosted by a young demon woman named Mazikeen. She professes that she will not leave him, because she loves him. Taking the girl’s knife, he passes it to Dream and asks that he cut off his wings for him.

As Dream performs his bloody task, he asks after Nada. Lucifer does not know what happened to the woman, but he is sure that she is in some dimension. He wishes Dream luck in finding her, and then bequeaths the key to the gates of hell to him. Grinning, he announces that Dream is now the sole monarch of a locked and empty hell, and he expects that this new role will bring the Dream Lord nothing but problems.

My take When I first read this story, I thought the idea of Lucifer abandoning Hell was brilliant and crazy at the same time.


Issue #24

Title: Season of Mists: Chapter Three

Artist: Kelley Jones & P. Craig Russell

Collected in: Season of Mists

Plot: Across the spiritual and otherworldly planes, gods and goddesses, angels and demons alike are all suddenly alerted to the recent abdication of Hell by Lucifer, and how the keys were passed on to Dream. In Asgard, Odin gathers together both Thor and Loki, and they make for the Dreaming. Elsewhere, the lords of Order and Chaos send emissaries to stake their own claim on the new real estate.

Meanwhile, Dream has just returned from Hell, no closer to finding Nada than he was when he left. Despairing at his situation, he contacts his sister Death. She reminds him that Hell is his to do with as he pleases, regardless of what that might be. However, Death has her own problems, as the havoc unleashed by Lucifer’s abdication has caused the dead to return to life.

In the Silver City, the angels Remiel and Duma decide to make a claim on Hell. In Limbo, many of the former Demons of Hell have congregated under the new leadership of Azazel. He gathers together Merkin and Choronzon to accompany him in their bid to have Hell returned to them. If they meet resistance from Dream, they have something he desires: Nada.

Eventually, Dream receives word that his unwelcome visitors have arrived. Before they can enter, they must each introduce themselves. Along with the Angels, Demons, emissaries of Order and Chaos, and the Gods of Asgard have arrived the Egyptian gods, Anubis and Bast and the Japanese god Susano-o-no-Mikoto. After welcoming his guests, Dream offers them quarters and promises to discuss the future of Hell tomorrow.

First appearance: Bast, Susano-o-no-Mikoto, Remiel, and Dumas

DC characters Odin, Loki, Thor, and Anubis had each appeared earlier in DC Comics. The Lords of Order and Chaos were introduced in Doctor Fate.

My take As a longtime Marvel reader, it was neat to see another take on the Asgardians.