Reblogging Sandman: Issue #2-Imperfect Hosts



In Issue #2, we continue to face the consequences of Dream's incarcerations, this time in his own kingdom, The Dreaming. Everything has decayed beyond recognition, and only a few faithful servants remain (including the always hilarious brothers Cain and Abel).

We are introduced to many characters and concepts that will be woven throughout the series. First, we meet the brothers, locked in one of their recurring fratricidal spats. Then we meet Lucien, librarian of the Dreaming, who makes clear to Dream just how badly things have decayed since he left.

Finally, we are introduced to the Three Witches, variously known as the Three Graces and as The Hecatae (and many, many, other things throughout history). Through them, Dream finds out who has stolen his precious tools. One is John Constantine.  Other items are with the Justice League of America.The third item is in possession of someone more mysterious, a demon in hell.

Much as I hate to recognize the fact, this is the same John Constantine as horribly miscast with Keanu Reeves. Constantine went on to his own series, Hellblazer. In the early years of Sandman, Gaiman was encouraged to insert as many DC Comics tie-ins as he could (the same page we are introduced to Constantine, we also have mention of the Justice League. Batman also shows up a few times throughout Sandman, usually in silhouette.) The character we meet in Arkham Asylum, John Dee, is a frequent villain in the Justice League universe as Dr. Destiny.

Basically, Gaiman's done DC a massive solid! I wonder how many minor characters of the DC Universe are now familiar to readers only as characters in the larger Sandman universe, forgotten in their original stories.

As yet, we are given little insight into Dream's own character. In his interaction with the Witches, we see he has a touch of the flirt about him. We know from his exacting revenge on Alex Burgess in the previous issue that he can be ruthless when challenged. But we don't really get an idea of what makes him tick.

The series becomes so much more about the Endless as it progresses, I'd forgotten how much these early issues focus on other characters.

Until next time!

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2 Responses to “ Reblogging Sandman: Issue #2-Imperfect Hosts ”

  1. This is very much a transitional episode (which is great, because it means I can read the next one tonight). It's a neat trick actually - by deferring all this exposition until issue 2, Gaiman had more room in the debut to capture new readers.

    Things that are clearer to me this time around:

    1) Dream is not a nice person. He was already weak when he left his prison and he spent the last of his power on vengeance.

    Look how he greets his most faithful servant. When he finally gets home Lucien welcomes him with honour at the gates of horn and ivory, having stayed to tend the Dreaming while its other inhabitants departed. Lucien has watched his whole library disappear, never knowing where his lord is or if he'll ever return. And does he get a thank you? A "good to see you, old friend"? Does he hell. All Dream can think of is his power, and how to get it back.

    It's the same with the Three-In-One.
    Help? Heee--Listen to him! Did you help us against Circe?

    It doesn't matter. This is MY realm.

    Not quite a flatterer, then.

    2) There's more to Cain and Abel than I thought. They're surprised their master is back, but pleased? Not really. Gaiman emphasises that they're elements of story - the first murderer and the first victim. While the Prince of Stories has been gone, they began to lose those identities. Or so I read Cain's words:

    Something has gone so wrong. And it's been getting slowly stranger. I've tried not it to you. So much.

    Question is: are they capable of being anything else?

    3) The Crone looks an awful lot like Odin. Dream summons the Fates with (among other things) a gallows, and Odin is the god of the gallows. I can't believe that wasn't intentional.

    4) Dream doesn't know who the JLA are. After all, how could he? Having been locked up for the better part of the century, he's out of touch. I also take that line as a hint that the Sandman won't be hanging out in Gotham or Metropolis all that much.

    5) That castle is HELLA phallic.

    On a side-note: Constantine got his own book just before Sandman started. I try to remind myself that those strange cameos would have been more familiar to regular DC readers. There would have been a rich irony in Dream's words: And he is JUST a MAN.

  2. All interesting points! I have a lot to respond, but I've cheated a couple issues ahead so I'll wait til you've caught up :).

    Until then, I'll go running to the Annotated Sandman site.


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