In the sixty-fourth issue of The Sandman, a visit from Delirium disrupts Dream’s routine, and the Kindly Ones announce their purpose. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
You know, I can’t believed that I got to the ninth volume of this series before I stopped to ask, “Hey, what does Dream do all day?” I always knew he was the master of his realm, but what did he do? While the beginning of the issue sets up the interaction between Delirium and Dream, it also answers this question. There really is a lot for him to occupy his day with, and the methodical way in which he moves from dream to dream to nightmare to the waking world speaks volumes about his demeanor. His detached behavior is evident here, and it’s easy to see why he always comes across as unemotional and careless. He’s not that way at all, but his quiet stoicism is part of his job, essentially. I realize it’s sort of silly to say “job” when it comes to Dream. It’s not like he gets paid for what he does. But, as he later explains to Delirium, he has responsibilities over his realm that he must attend to every day. It’s why the Dreaming fell into such disrepair when Dream was kidnapped at the very beginning of the series.
This is also why Delirium’s conversation with Dream is so significant. It’s clear that Delirium doesn’t give her realm the same attention as Dream does to his, but that doesn’t mean she’s failing her own realm. When she arrives to speak with Dream about Barnabas, it seems like she’s just obsessed with another one of her own tangents. But then she drops one hell of a truth bomb, one that I think seriously affects Dream:
“Our existence deforms the universe. That’s responsibility.”
I love this idea that our mere existence can change things for the negative. What we must be vigilant about is being aware of the deformities that happen because of us, and acting to rectify them. That’s important because we just saw how much of an influence Dream has over the entire world. How much have his actions deformed the universe? How has he changed or altered the very fabric of things simply by living the way he has? And despite that the text here says that Dream gave no evidence of being disturbed by this bit of knowledge, I think it’s crucial to understanding his further growth as a character in this series.
We’ll get back to that. I’m not sure how Rose Walker’s story fits in with anything else in The Kindly Ones, but that’s okay. It’s enjoyable to watch Rose start a sexual relationship with Jack, and to find momentary happiness in him. I say “momentary” because of the heart-crushing reveal we get later in the issue, when Jack reveals he’s not quite single, and Rose is left to cope with what she’s done. Will she get revenge? That seems to be a common theme in this volume, but I admit that I’m clueless when it comes to her story.
The second version of the Corinthian is also puzzling me, but in an entirely different way. I love his dynamic with Matthew, and I’m already thinking about how entertaining it would be to have a buddy cop series about the two of them. But the differences between the original Corinthian and this one intrigue me. Why was he created again? This version seems far more stable, and then I find out that HE EATS EYES BECAUSE HE CAN SEE THE FINAL MOMENTS OF A PERSON’S LIFE. What the fuck??? Could the original one do that, or was this a change that Dream made for the second time around? No, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?
I was also confused as to why the Corinthian or Matthew didn’t tell Dream about Loki. They now know that Loki was the last person who interacted with Carla, and it’s pretty obvious he was the one who burned her alive. Wouldn’t it help him to know?
And then the Kindly Ones arrive. Oh god, they are named, and it’s kind of the best name for them ever, especially considering that the first thing they do is the least kind thing I can imagine. Gryphon’s death is FUCKED UP. “Lord… I cannot feel you, Lord…” WHY. WHY WOULD YOU WRITE THESE SAD WORDS AND GIVE THEM TO ME? Gryphon is in this series for like five seconds and I was instantaneously devastated by his death. It shows me that the Kindly Ones mean business. They are here to destroy Dream and everything he loves. So what’s going to happen once they find out that Loki killed Daniel? Are they on auto-pilot, or can they rescind their mission of revenge?
This issue ends as a reflection on the day that’s just passed, and I adored that it was also about the entire cast of characters pondering their purpose. Is Lucifer happy playing piano? What is Larissa getting herself into? How can Nuala feel happy in her home realm if it lacks any purpose? What’s Rose Walker supposed to do now that she’s lost the possibility of comfort in Jack? And is Dream doing something wrong in his existence? How has he deformed reality? That’s what I imagine he’s thinking of as he stares at the open grave for Gryphon. “They held the first funeral,” is the line this issue ends on, and I detest that it says “first” there, because that means there are many more to come.
Dream’s funeral has to be a trick, right? Right???? Ugh, this is awful and depressing.
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