Mark Reads ‘The Sandman’: 2×02 – The Doll’s House

In the tenth issue of The Sandman, there are like a billion plots and I’m slightly confused and what the hell is going on. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.

“The Doll’s House”

Okay, I’m perfectly fine admitting that I am overwhelmed, and that I have no idea what’s going on. I mean that I do get who these characters are, and I understand most of what’s being introduced, but I do feel like the three intertwining plots are basically laughing at me. Yes, they are sentient beings, and they are making fun of me. This is an introduction to me to give me an idea of where the story can go after this. The first volume of The Sandman feels so complete, and now I’m seeing that this is all just a set up.

We start off with Desire and Despair, two of Dream’s siblings, and it makes me feel slightly better about having a really terrible sister that I don’t care for very much. Yeah, at least my sister never did anything like this. I’m curious to know why they treat Dream the way they do. Given the first issue in this volume, I now know it’s possible that Dream deserves the treatment he’s being given. Could he have done something to his siblings to earn their ire? Or is it the other way around?

No, it has to be the other way around, doesn’t it? Yeah, Desire says something very specific here that makes my brain hurt: “Nada was a mistake.” OKAY, WHAT. They interfered with Queen Nada’s life? Was she just a pain of one of the Eternal gods? I see you, tiny detail. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? And what’s a dream vortex and how can it be a person? Why don’t these characters just leave Dream alone so he can go off and do his own thing? What bigots.

This issue also introduces Rose and Miranda Walker, who travel to some estate for… well, until the reveal at the end of the issue, we don’t really know why they’re going there. I do get the appeal of being contacted by some anonymous benefactor, and I personally wouldn’t turn down a free trip to England. I MEAN RIGHT. But I can’t say I’ve ever had an experience like this. So, I found myself looking towards Rose to gauge her reaction to this all. For the most part, she’s written as if she’s disinterested in it all. It isn’t long before she curls up in the backseat of some giant car and falls asleep.

I seriously love how the orientation of the comic changes with this panel, and I was reminded of the experience of reading House of Leaves. Which I read on a plane. Don’t do that. Just… don’t do that. Here, though, it’s really amazing to me how the panels turn so naturally so that the book must be read with the pages flipping up. For me, it’s this very physical experience with the story, especially as we move away from the real world and into the Dream realm. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best segues I’ve seen in a long time.

This segue leads us to the third plot in this issue, which is Dream’s census of his realm. It’s through this that I learn that he created beings that he uses for dreams and nightmares. I can’t say I know what these creatures do or what purpose they serve, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word puissant before. I do know one thing for certain: if the Corinthian ever shows up in my nightmares, I will take as many drugs as necessary to never fall asleep again. No, I’m good, I don’t want to know that there’s a being with teeth for eyes. MY LIFE WAS PERFECTLY FINE BEFORE THIS.

Anyway, now we have a main conflict! Dream is off to find four of his creations, and to investigate this possible new dream vortex. Who is Rose. HOW IS ROSE A DREAM VORTEX. Also, Doctor Who has ruined the name Rose because then I think of ROES LOVING DRUGS and I hate when memes get stuck in my head this way. But I do feel that out of all three stories introduced in “The Doll’s House,” Rose and Miranda’s story is the most interesting of the bunch. When the two meet their benefactor and she introduces herself as Unity Kinkaid, I knew instantly that this was going to be FUCKED UP. Why is a character from the first volume reappearing? OH, IT’S THEIR MOTHER/GRANDMOTHER. OH. Oh my god, what? So, wait, what? Oh my god, Unity gave up Miranda after she was raped while afflicted with the sleeping sickness and NOW UNITY’S GRANDDAUGHTER IS A DREAM VORTEX. Oh, there is no way that this isn’t connected. But how? How is this even possible?

Of course, I was surprised by the appearance of the three witches or muses or whomever these beings are. Did it help me figure out what was going on? NOPE. Why are they warning Rose? Also, what do you expect someone to ask you? Their whole policy of only allowing people to ask a single question, but expecting them to know that before hand is REALLY IRRITATING. But even for them, isn’t it kind of inconvenient? IT’S WEIRD. Whatever, I actually like that it’s so strange, honestly. I am a big fan of being forced to figure out what’s going on instead of being spoon fed the plot. (Which is a big reason why Crash (and not the one by Cronenberg) is the worst thing to ever win an Oscar ever.) At this point, I don’t even know that I have any guesses about where this story is headed. Seriously, how is Rose a dream vortex? Also, I accidentally typed “time vortex” first and thank you Doctor Who.

So hey, how’s that ending? Rose gets the amulet as predicted, and we see a few panels of the Corinthian as he tortures someone. How can he exist in the physical world like that? What is he doing? Seriously, I am quite lost, but I don’t have a single problem with it. I’d tell Gaiman to “bring it,” but I’d probably regret that.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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