I do appreciate that Gaiman works in all the references to the sandman in popular culture. Here, the famous song is a running thread that ties together the disparate story elements, "Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream..." You know the one. Similarly, in the first issue, Gaiman managed to bring in the old DC vigilante Sandman, playing him off as a wannabe who stepped in during Dream's incarceration.
In comparison to the issues before and after, Dream a Little Dream of Me is a bit dull. It's got the mundane stuff like riding in taxis and searching through warehouses, and really really dull things like Constantine reflecting on his life. Yeah so John Constantine's more annoying than I remember. He's sort of a walking Nick Hornby cliche rather than the noir hero I remember him being.
But I get why the motions of the story had to be relatively tame; the horror of Rachel's addiction really shines through in contrast. That image when Dream and Constantine finally reach her has long been burned in my brain as one of the iconic images from the series:
Yes, it's horrible, but what she's done to herself IS horrible. She's been locked in a glass prison of her own making, where reality is clear and present but her ability to recognize it has been destroyed. But Morpheus lacks pity for her, and on some level we don't pity her either. But Constantine does, and influences Morpheus to show a little mercy.
Next up: Going to Hell