In the forty-fifth issue of The Sandman, HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
Oh, this is going to turn into a disaster, isn’t it? What have these two characters walked into? This is a lot more serious than I thought it was. All I can think about is Dream telling Lucien, “What could possibly go wrong?” WHY DIDN’T LUCIEN JUST PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE AFTER HE SAID THAT? What a fool, I swear.
This entire issue leads to the inevitable confrontation between Ishtar and Dream/Delirium. I expected that they’d never get to meet her, that she’d tragically die before they even got to her. So every plot twist in the issue seemed to be suspicious to me. What forces were at work to keep them apart? I genuinely believed that that’s why the cop pulled over Delirium. Well, yes, let’s not forget that Delirium is the worst driver in the history of forever, but I thought that perhaps one of the Endless or some other being was interfering, putting up roadblocks. That’s why Tiffany was sick; it would distract Ishtar and make her hard to find.
Yeah, this might be one of my worst theories I’ve had while reading fiction. (I still think my own pet-theory that Percy Weasley was working for Voldemort is the worst idea I’ve ever seriously considered for more than a few minutes.) While the ending of this issue outright confirms that this journey is dangerous and will have lasting ramifications that Delirium and Dream can’t begin to appreciate, I was wrong about Ishtar’s death. I was glad about that because I enjoyed reading Ishtar and Tiffany’s conversation, as well as getting to experience Matthew as Delirium’s driving instructor. They’re nice, entertaining moments that lead up to WHAT THE HELL. Yet even amidst the silliness and the humor, even I could spot some of the smaller details that would affect the story to come. At one point, Ishtar talks about finding a good man in the past, saying, “In the end we split up. Fights about his family and his job. You know how it goes.”
SHE’S TALKING ABOUT DESTRUCTION. SHE TOTALLY IS. That’s how she once knew him! Okay, I thought, I’m totally on board. I GET WHAT IS HAPPENING. I felt COOL AS A CUCUMBER. I figured something out! Sure, it wasn’t some huge detail, but at least I was able to put two and two together. And I even felt prepared for Ishtar’s connection as a god because I recognized her name. I knew she was the Babylonian goddess of love and war. Well, and more than that, but you know. I knew that’s also why she’d never truly danced on stage before.
It was right around when the three travelers made it to the strip club (BRILLIANTLY NAMED SUFFRAGETTE CITY) that my certainty began to fade. Delirium shouts rather excitedly, “Tiffany’s here! And the dancing woman! They aren’t dead or exploded or anything.” It’s funny, yes, but it has the same effect as Dream saying nothing can go wrong. YOU ARE CURSING YOUR OWN FUTURE, DELIRIUM. DON’T DO THAT. But I was unnerved that they’d actually made it to Ishtar. She was alive, and Dream was on his way to talk to her. So… was he actually going to find out where Destruction was? I’m pretty sure he told Lucien he had no plans on finding his brother. But what the hell was he going to ask Ishtar? Obviously, they would have to know each other, and by her reaction to his presence, she’s not exactly delighted to see him.
But she doesn’t know where he is. They’re no closer to Destruction than they were before, and Dream is still an asshole to everyone around him because that’s all he knows. The group leaves the strip club (LOL MATTHEW WANTED TO STAY), and Dream says he knows where they’re going next. But where can they go? Is he stalling? Will they still visit the remaining two folks on the list?
And then… shit. The ending of this issue. Ishtar gives her final dance. It seems Dream’s visit has triggered painful memories from her past with Destruction. What happened? Why does she kill herself in a blaze of forced orgasms? WHICH IS KIND OF FIERCE IN A REALLY DISTURBING WAY. I’m even more perplexed when Desire arrives to comfort Tiffany, the only one to escape the building. They make mention of Dream and Delirium” stirr[ing] it all up,” but what exactly are they messing with?
Oh god, WHAT IS HAPPENING?
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