Mark Reads ‘The Sandman': 7×02 – Brief Lives, Chapter 2

In the forty-second issue of The Sandman, Delirium visits Dream, who is grieving over a girlfriend walking out on him, and tries to convince him to find their lost brother. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.

Chapter 2

I wonder who it was that captured Dream’s attention enough to get him to fall in love. The idea of Dream loving anyone is kind of strange to me. He’s such a cold, wooden character. I don’t find him to be particularly empathetic or caring, but I’m also thinking about him in human terms. Someone found him attractive. It’s also clear that women tend to leave Dream and not the other way around. I WONDER WHY THAT IS.

I also have to laugh (just a bit!) at what Dream does in the opening of this issue. Initially, I knew that he was upset over the loss of his companion, but it was Merv’s insight that made me smile. (Is that Pumpkinhead?????) The idea that Dream is basically posturing his own sadness in a way is kind of hilarious. He’s such a showboat! At the very least, it’s what he does. He loves grandiose displays, and this is yet another one of them. That being said, I believe Lucien, too. Whomever this woman was, he must have genuinely liked her, and I don’t want to belittle his own heartbreak. Hell, Lucien seems rather worried about Dream’s state.

I think that might also be because of what we see in Dream’s realm as he stands out in the rain for DAYS. First of all, he just outright refuses to say anything to Matthew, despite that the crow tries to make his master feel better. Down at Abel’s house, the constant rain has brought flooding to the whole realm. How long was this going to last? How much destruction would the dream realm face?

The arrival of Delirium interrupts Dream’s Sad Fest. The dynamic of these two characters reminds me more of a daughter who is afraid of her authoritarian father than a brother and sister. Delirium dances around what it is she wants, terrified of what Dream’s inevitable response will be. It’s kind of heartbreaking when you think about it, especially in the context of who Delirium used to be: Delight. After the two Endless go through some awkward small talk over food, Dream finally asks her to tell him why she came to his realm. (Also, can we briefly talk about the chocolate people? Are those people having a dream? Like, WHAT IF THAT WAS YOUR DREAM? My god.)

I was shocked, then, by how much Dream’s demeanor changed from what I was used to. He can be cutthroat and direct when speaking to anyone, but he’s remarkably receptive to Delirium’s panic. He apologizes for coming off as being condescending, and then he doesn’t immediately reject Delirium’s desire to seek out Destruction. Hell, even I expected that he’d just say no, and she’d have to seek out Death and Destiny. That made the most sense! And even then, I was thinking that this entire volume would just be Delirium going off to find him herself. Instead, Dream goes to Desire’s domain to see if they’re behind Delirium’s obsession. Obviously, Desire’s rejection of this claim advances the plot, but I think it’s also important to note that Dream is faced with the fact that he knows Delirium is being genuine. He has a very selfish reason for choosing to embark on this little adventure with her, and I think the scene in Desire’s realm represents that. This is not a brief phase for Delirium. She wants to find Destruction, and she’ll go off on her own if she has to.

For Delirium, though, this journey is probably far more personal than Dream realizes. The one-page flashback to her last days as Delight is a hint towards how much she really needs to find Destruction. Her entire identity was changed when he left. So what was “changing” that inspired Destruction to abandon his family? AHHH, I NEED TO KNOW.

I imagine I’ll find out in this volume, as Dream surprisingly agrees to travel with Delirium in search of Destruction. For Dream, though, this journey is a way for him to escape the depressive state he’s been in. He’s not going to actually help out his sister at all. That wasn’t surprising to me at all. But then Dream has to go and say this:

“You worry too much, Lucien. I’ve noticed this before. After all, this is completely straightforward. What could possibly go wrong?”

NO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU ARE NEVER SUPPOSED TO SAY THIS EVER. EVER. Oh my god, you’ve just ruined everything, Dream. EVERYTHING.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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