Mark Reads ‘The Sandman’: 5×01 – Slaughter on Fifth Avenue

In the thirty-second issue of The Sandman, HOLY SHIT, FUCK YES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.

“A Game of You: Chapter One”

(A note: this is technically issue #32, and the next five came out sequentially after it. However, they’re bunched together in the fifth volume. So the issue numbers will skip around for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be reading things in order of the volumes instead. Enjoy!)

Oh god, okay, so I’m going to start this off with a bit of a tangent. There’s a panel in the first chapter of “A Game of You” that elicited a response from that was somewhat similar to another graphic novel. It’s not the exact same thing, but I will grasp at straws WHENEVER I CAN. One of the first graphic novels I ever read was Watchmen. I just gave it to a friend, and I was leafing through it before I handed it over to him. Time and time again, I always end up at the exact same spot. It’s sort of second nature to me because it was the moment I realized the capacity of the graphic novel to be emotional and powerful on a guttural level.

(Spoilers for Watchmen, and seriously DO NOT ROT13 THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE MASSIVELY SPOILED FOR THE ENDING: V guvax bar bs gur terngrfg erfbyhgvbaf va NYY bs svpgvba vf va Jngpuzra. V zrna, V xabj vs lbh’ir ernq guvf, lbh haqrefgnaq, ohg jura Nqevra Irvqg fnlf, “V qvq vg guvegl-svir zvahgrf ntb,” zl oenva whfg fbeg bs… oebxr? Yvxr, jnvg, guvf vfa’g unccravat. Vg unf gb or fgbccrq. Guvf pna’g or ubj vg raqf. Naq gura gur arkg cntr vf Arj Lbex Pvgl naq gur arjfcncre zna fybjyl orpbzvat ybfg va n furrg bs juvgr, naq gur jubyr gvzr, V jnf FUNXVAT.

Ohg gur zbzrag V’z ersreevat gb vf gur bcravat bs puncgre gjryir. Vg FGVYY shpxf zr hc. Vg’f fb fgenatr, fb fheerny, naq fb shpxrq hc. Vg’f jung V nyjnlf ghea gb. Jura V svefg ernq vg, V fghqvrq gubfr cnaryf, gelvat gb znxr frafr bs jung V jnf frrvat, naq vg greevsvrq zr. Vg unhagf zr FGVYY. Gunaxf, Qnir Tvoobaf.)

Here’s the thing: “A Game of You” isn’t the ending of Watchmen. This is just one part of a very long novel, but I had a moment while reading this that just stopped me in my tracks, much like when I got to the end of Watchmen. Half of the fun and tension in this chapter is the fact that Gaiman is being deliberately coy and secretive. The entire introduction is in a wasteland, and then in the dark. We know characters are talking, but the most we get is a set of eyes. Then things switch to Barbie (!!!!! HOLY FUCK I AM SO GLAD MY PREDICTION WAS WRONG !!!!!), and we get the hints that’s she’s connected to the Land, but we don’t quite know what this is all doing. And then the woman on the subway runs aboveground and straight into Martin Tenbones, and it just shocked me into silence. In just a single panel, this entire issue changes so much. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING? It’s unrecognizable. I have no reference to compare it to, aside from the fleeting memory of it appearing a few volumes ago. Well, it does sort of look like a fucked-up Dr. Seuss character. (And his characters are already weird enough as it is.) But holy shit.

The sheer weirdness of this story so far is lovely. I don’t get it! I don’t think I have ever enjoyed not understanding something quite as much as this. I don’t know what the Land is. I don’t know what all those other creatures are. They are clearly attached to Barbie’s dreams, but why? Why did she stop dreaming? Does it have to do with her leaving Ken? OMG Ken and Barbie got a divorce. I love that I get to type that sentence.

I don’t know what’s going on. What I do know is that I am more interested in The Sandman than I have ever been before, and I also know that whomever that older man is who ate the crow, he terrifies me and I hope I never see him smile again. Oh my god, what a freaky face.

This is so exciting, y’all. I can’t wait.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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