Mark Reads ‘The Sandman’: 9×03 – Part Three

In the fifty-ninth issue of The Sandman, Hippolyta Hall struggles with her missing son as Dream is warned by an old friend about a possible future. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.

“Part Three”

This is not going to end well at all.

First of all: OH SHIT, IT’S LOKI. oh my god IT’S PUCK. That’s where they’ve been this whole time! Wait… where exactly have they been? I thought Dream was in possession of Loki. Did he escape? Can he trick the Dream Lord? I don’t think Morpheus is all that trickable, but I’m probably missing the point. So let’s first discuss the obvious: WHAT THE FUCK ARE LOKI AND PUCK DOING? It’s bad enough that I have no clue why they kidnapped Daniel. It makes no sense, and I’m given no real information about it in this issue. Loki tells a fairly hilarious story about tricking Thor into believing he gave birth to a squirrel, and then he sticks Daniel in the fireplace. And I don’t know why I thought this at the time, but I saw the image of a confused Daniel in the pages of this book, and I thought, “Oh, weird. He’s impervious to fire. So why are they putting him there?” Yeah, he’s a human, Mark, SINCE WHEN ARE HUMANS INVINCIBLE TO FIRE.

I’ll get to that plot twist in a bit when I address Hippolyta’s development. The issue moves into another moment in Hob Gadling’s life, and I’m positive that this might be the most depressing chapter yet. I simply adore the illustrations in this issue, particularly the gorgeous contrast of colors in the opening of Hob’s scenes. The purple flowers seem so vibrant over an otherwise dead background, and it’s a fitting choice. Hob is in a place of death, mourning the loss of the last woman he loved. His monologue is heartbreaking, too, and I can’t ignore that it feels like yet another clue towards what is going to happen in this volume. Death is everywhere in this story arc, and Hob’s story concerns the pain of loss. I remember what it felt like to forget small details about a person. I can’t remember what my father smelled like, and when that disappeared, I felt like I was betraying him. That’s a silly notion, but it’s still hard to go through. I know exactly what that feels like.

And then Dream shows up. It’s time for them to meet up again, but before Gaiman gets to their conversation, there’s a brief interlude that FRIGHTENS ME. I get glimpses of the rest of the Endless, and I can tell that something is happening. Why does Destiny see himself in his own garden??? Why does Desire close off their own realm? Why is Despair so upset about this? WHY IS DELIRIUM THE MOST PERFECT THING EVER? No, that panel of her remembering a dog is my favorite representation of her ever, and I seriously would adore a tattoo of her on my body. It’s such a perfect representation of who she is.

It’s not until the end of Hob’s conversation with Dream that I get a sense of what’s going on. The two talk of Hob’s loss, and I was impressed that Dream advised against revenge. CHARACTER GROWTH, I SEE YOU. I recall how this series opened, with Dream setting out to get revenge against those who imprisoned him, and I wouldn’t have ever believed that Dream would one day tell someone else not to seek out revenge. It’s one of a few things in this issue that make it seem like things have changed significantly for Morpheus. Hob recognizes that something is off with Dream, and chases after him in the snow.

He smells death on Dream.

Ugh, that little smile that Dream gives when he thanks Hob for caring just destroys me. Does Dream know what’s going on? Is he aware of the forces at work here? WHAT IS GOING ON?

This issue ends with Hippolyta, and I love a lot of the artistic choices made to convey her sense of panic and fear. God, that entire first page where her face is framed in exactly the same way while she shops for groceries is so fucked up. But it’s a brilliant way to use the narration and the art in conjunction to tell a story, and it’s such a great moment in the series. Hippolyta struggles with wanting to be strong for son and with a debilitating fear that spreads through her body. Unfortunately, it also appears she doesn’t have complete control over the physical ramifications of her anger. Which isn’t to say that Eric doesn’t deserve a punch in the face for hitting on Hippolyta while she’s emotionally vulnerable, but her stoic emotional state seems to boil over a few times.

But the worst was always yet to come. When I saw the photo of the burned body of Daniel, I just couldn’t understand this. How? And why? Why did they do this to her? What purpose could it possibly serve?



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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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