In the forty-third issue of The Sandman, Dream and Delirium organize travel on Earth, and this is not going to end well, is it? If you’re intrigued by that, then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
I know that this issue is merely setting the pieces into place, and I also know that it’s making me uncomfortable. I can recognize that there’s a reason why Gaiman opened Brief Lives with Orpheus and why this issue opens with the bit about “the old ones.” We get glimpses of their lives, too, but I don’t know why they’re all connected. I don’t know why I’m getting this information. Neil Gaiman is cackling somewhere, isn’t he?
At least I know this: Bernie Capax is “The Lawyer” from Delirium’s list. He must be one of the “old ones,” and I imagine it’ll be easy to speak with him since he’s dead. Dream will just have to call on Death to do so. Actually, that could also be a problem. Well, at least I know Death will play into this, and I enjoy any chance to spend more time with her.
Actually, I’m also enjoying how much this volume focuses on Delirium. Her strangeness, which teeters between joy and sadness, is endearing to me. I love that she constantly interrupts Dream and the receptionist with just any thought that she has in her brain. I especially loved her answer to Dream’s question about where they should go next. “…somewhere that’s not here?” BLESS HER. She’s the polar opposite of Dream, who is reserved and often spends a billion trillion years thinking of what it is he wants to say next. I wonder, then, why Dream chooses to help the people that he does. We learn after this that Pharamond owes Dream a favor after helping when he used to be a god.
Of course, it’s hard not to see American Gods in this interaction. You know, is that book in the same universe as this one? It would be interesting to re-read it knowing that. Here, these “old ones” might all be gods who have moved on to something else, occupying human bodies in the interim. (I say that only because Capax was clearly mortal and died as a human, but was he always human? The intro to this issue says “humanoid” beings, so I’m still fascinated to see more of this.) We see Hatain escape a gas explosion by jumping through a closed window, and we meet a painter and his dog Barnabas, all presumably old ones, too. It seems the message of all these stories is the same: something is happening. Lives are being disrupted. Trouble is coming. But why? What does this foreshadowing mean?
Even Dream’s behavior is changing. Why does he choose to engage with Chloe on the airplane? He tends to keep to himself. Well… actually, on second thought, he does like to talk about the Dreaming any chance he gets. Oh man, so he closes himself off from the world and his realm, but a little girl talks about dreams and he’s suddenly the friendliest being ever???
I’m jesting. There’s probably no “deep” meaning to the airplane scene, but the end of this issue drives home the fear creeping in the pages. Things are about to change. What sort of disaster are these two characters walking into? What’s going to happen when they find Destruction? I am getting mighty nervous.
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