Mark Reads ‘The Sandman’: 7×01 – Brief Lives, Chapter 1

In the forty-first issue of The Sandman, Delirium sets out to find her lost brother. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.

Chapter One

Oh god, it’s finally happening. OH MY GOD, HOW AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS ISSUE? I can’t exactly place what it is that feels so different about the first chapter of Brief Lives, but I think it might be how intimate this story is right from the start. I’m not quite sure how Orpheus is going to tie into the search for Destruction (OH MY GOD OH MY GOD IT’S DESTRUCTION), at least not yet. Perhaps this volume is going to tie together various characters from the series? In a way, I can see a parallel between Orpheus and Destruction. Both of them are characters who have largely been forgotten by those who were once close to them. And if they’re not forgotten, they’re completely ignored.

Okay, I’m reaching. I know it. And I’m doing it because I have not the slightest clue where this is going. In a sense, this issue is purposely vague, never quite giving us the information we want. I admit that I’m hooked already, and it helps that most of “Chapter 1” is seen through the eyes of Delirium. I’m interested to see if we’ll get a glimpse of her past, as the disappearance of Destruction has obviously affected her over the years. What was she like before then? How did she act? What was different about her? These days, she seems to drift between realms and between various places on Earth, searching for some unnamed thing she’s never able to find. That listless nature also appears to be getting much worse. She wanders from place to place, ending up in a sex club, desperately wishing her sister Death was around. She really does act clingy and wistful around her family members, and more so than ever, it’s clear she just wishes they were all back together.

Recognizing that emotion, Desire shows up, looking rather dapper in their suit, I might add. She attempts to comfort her sister, but this isn’t something that Desire can provide. I loved that Delirium pointed out the irony in Desire telling her not to want something. That irony would come up again with Despair later in the same chapter. The scene also revealed that the issue of Destruction’s disappearance was a sore spot for all of the Endless. What exactly did he do? Maybe I’m asking the wrong question. What was done to him? Why were the Endless so eager to avoid talking about him? Where did he go? I AM ASKING TOO MANY QUESTIONS THAT AREN’T BEING ANSWERED.

I was also fascinated to get a better glimpse of Despair’s realm. It’s such a haunting idea: a grey, shapeless world full of mirrors. Despair waits on the other side of each mirror, watching despair settle in on people in the world. It’s a voyeuristic take on her dominion, and we get an example of what it is that Despair does in the world when we see a child molester who has learned that his secret has been discovered. The sheer glee on Despair’s face when she muses about how this man doesn’t even have the courage to end his own life is kind of terrifying. In a way, the thought of this realm is kind of comforting to me, though? That’s probably fucked up to say, but I’ve given in to despair more times than I can count in my life. The idea that there’s a being who survives and thrives off of it almost feels as if it gives that sort of suffering a reason.

Regardless, it appears that Delirium’s visit sparked something in Despair. After Delirium leaves while Despair mutilates her own face (!!!!), the issue flashes back to London in 1665 at the height of the Plague. There, we see Destruction for the second time. Both he and Despair are rather enthused by the chaos left in the wake of the Plague, and they’re both able to gleam destruction and despair from the tragedy. I was totally floored by the big brother vibe that Destruction gave off, especially since I expected a flashback like this from Delirium. It looks as though Destruction quite loved his sister Despair, and she appreciated him greatly.

That’s why the last page of this issue is so significant. I know that this flashback was what Delirium’s visit triggered in Despair. Her memories of her brother are fond, and so she calls upon Desire to discuss the possibility of stopping Delirium from finding Destruction. But I’m not so sure she actually wants to stop her. Could it be possible that, deep down, she wants to see her brother, too?


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Reads ‘The Sandman’: 7×01 – Brief Lives, Chapter 1

  1. Leo says:

    Delirium is always scared Dream is laughing at her behind his face D:

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