In the fifty-seventh issue of The Sandman, both Matthew and Hippolyta Hall become restless with their lives. And then shit gets real INCREDIBLY QUICKLY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
Let me get the obvious out of the way: holy shit, I LOVE MARC HEMPEL’S ART. No one in the span of The Sandman draws like him, and I ADORE IT. Ah, Hippolyta looks gorgeous, I am 100% into the way he draws Dream, and Daniel Vozzo’s coloring of all this is, once again, just stellar. I LOVE THIS.
So there are three main story elements to the first part of The Kindly Ones, and I’d like to address all of them.
You know, I don’t know how I never figured out that these three witches were furies. Or the Furies. I mean, it’s kind of obvious now? Granted, we haven’t seen them a whole bunch throughout the series. Which, you know, that got me thinking about how non-traditional this series is in terms of how Gaiman has chosen to tell the story. I imagine if you read The Sandman in issue/release order, it might have been difficult to follow along. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t that challenging, but this story simply does not progress from Point A, the Beginning, to Point B, the Ending. There are divergent paths scattered throughout, there are characters we see once, there are characters who appear and then don’t reappear until YEARS LATER. That’s kind of rad! It does mean that I have to take a moment to remember who these people are. (Or I have to use my own posts so I don’t spoil myself online. NO, SERIOUSLY, I DO THIS!) But I’ve always enjoyed the inherent respect for the audience that’s embedded in a serialized narrative. And this one in particular is one of the most complex ones I’ve ever read.
So, I’m not quite sure what role the witches are going to play in this story, but obviously, Gaiman wouldn’t introduce them if they weren’t important in some way. I’m thinking that the fortune one of the witches reads is the detail I should pay attention to. Is the king who forsakes his kingdom going to be Dream? I thought that might be the case, but then the last part of the fortune says, “The oldest battle begins once more.” What battle is that? Between good and evil? What does this have to do with the Endless? Oh, hell, what if it has nothing to do with them, and I’m just assuming so because of what happened at the end of Worlds’ End?
BAH. All good things must finish sometime, I’m warned, and I don’t want to find out what’s coming to an end.
It was really fascinating how Matthew’s journey through the Dreaming sort of matched the path taken in the Prologue. Not only does he visit most of the same people, but there’s still that sense of wonder and confusion present. In this case, Matthew is curious about his role as Dream’s raven, and as he asks others about past ravens, he questions the purpose of each person he talks to. Why do the guardians do what they do? Who was there before them? Why does Nuala clean the throne room every day? What was Lucien before he was the librarian for Dream? I wasn’t shocked that none of them could really provide a reason for any of their behavior beyond saying things just were the way they were.
Even Dream is just repeating the cycle again when Matthew finally comes upon him. Matthew finds his master creating the Corinthian again. Rightfully so, Matthew wonders WHY THE HELL DREAM WOULD WANT TO DO THAT. Dream gives reasons, sure, but I noticed that none of them were very… I don’t know, substantial? They’re all along the same lines: I’ve done this before, and I’ll do it again. So Matthew is dismissed, feeling unsatisfied, and I’m left wondering a lot myself. What’s going to happen to the Dreaming? Mervyn often complains about how static things are in the realm, and now more than ever, I think he’s right. I guess I expected there to be some sort of monumental change after the end of volume seven, but Dream appears to be slipping back into familiar patterns once more.
I like that all three stories we get pieces of in “Part One” are about the cyclical, comfortable elements of life, and Hippolyta actively seeks to change her own. Her life with her son has been stressful, sure, but through her conversations with Carla, I get the sense that she doesn’t take risks. She’s always looking after Daniel, paranoid of leaving him in the care of anyone else. For me, then, it’s a big deal that she decides to leave Daniel at home to go to the Lux for a job. Well, it is a job she’s there for, right?
I’m fascinated by this character and her past with superheroes. I’m fascinated by her life as a single mother trying to raise her son right in a big city full of people who might come after her. So I was instantly suspicious of Eric’s offer for Hippolyta. It just seemed too good to be true. He’d let her invent her own job title, start her on a salary, and have an in-office caregiver for Daniel at her disposal?
Look, I probably shouldn’t make predictions, but oh well. I think Eric invited Hippolyta to Lux to get her away from the house so someone could kidnap her son. THIS IS MY THEORY AND I THINK IT’S PRETTY GOOD.
Wait, there’s one more thing: Lucifer is the piano player at Lux, and he fucking hate requests. Why is this so amazing to me? I imagine he has no real connection to the story, and this is Gaiman’s hilarious way of showing us what he’s been up to.
MUST READ MORE.
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