Re-Blogging Sandman #8: Sound of Her Wings


And here we are at last! The last issue of Preludes and Nocturnes, which has turned out to be the prelude to much awesomeness. In "The Sound of Her Wings," we are officially introduced to Dream's wonderful sister, Death.

From page one, you know you're getting something different: pastel colors my god! And in Paris. Nothing bad can happen with pastel colors in Paris, right?*

It's so COMFORTING when Death enters the conversation, a Goth-styled breath of fresh air. Though she doesn't have her trademark eyeliner yet, which is vaguely disappointing! Mopius, Lord of Emo, is sitting and ruminating, and in comes Hurrican Death, rambling about Fat Pigeons and Mary Poppins and all those things that make humans human. Morbius rewards her imposition with a recap of the story so far.

I'm of two minds about the expository scenes. On the one hand they feel, well, expository. We've been reading, do we really need a recap? But on the other hand, it's important to see Dream reflect like this, as there have been so many hint that he is not a man prone to regrets or looking back on the past, at least he didn't before. For Gaiman to show him philosophizing about recent events suggests a subtle shift in character.

But the number one thing to take away from this story is that Dream is not the only one of his kind: he has family, and they're not all as dark and tormented as he is. But lets play on the assumption that Dream's imprisonment has led him to become not a better person necessarily, but a little more empathetic. What would have happened if Death had been imprisoned as was originally intended? I suspect her sunny disposition would have taken a few hard knocks; she might have emerged despotic.

But as Franklin demonstrates, if you meet Death without knowing her name, you would WANT to see her, you would want to be adjacent to her marvelous energy. And so we do, in fact, for we do not know she is Death until the end. And what a weird little twist that is.

There's a subtle horror here that works much better than the rest of the first series, I believe. Death knows what she's doing, she's not callous, nor is she overly professional. It's almost sweet when she talks the recently deceased through their passing. Until the baby. And even then, it's a sweet conversation. Until we get an almost full page of the new mother in despair. Now THAT's the moment. That's the consequence of Death. She inflicts great torment on those that are left behind.

These Eternals, there's a lot more going on than what's bubbling on the surface.

Coming up: Doll's House! And we get a few history lessons.


*Upon further research, it turns out this ISN'T Paris, but Greenwich Village in New York City.

This entry was posted on and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . You can leave a response .

2 Responses to “ Re-Blogging Sandman #8: Sound of Her Wings ”

  1. Well now, this is something very special. Reminds me of something I said to you about Doctor Who: as much as I enjoyed Christopher Ecclestone's take on the character, from the moment David Tennant opened his mouth something in my head just clicked - now THIS is the Doctor!

    This gave me the same feeling. Every single aspect of the comic is kicked up a notch, and the quality was pretty damn high to start with.

    It's the timing that nails it. The beats from panel to panel, the difference in speech and body language, the sound of the pigeons and the bystanders - it's more vivid than video. You could be standing in Washington Square.

    The look on Morpheus's face when Death throws the bread at him is still one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a comic. It's only possible with a little cheat - for the briefest of moments his eyes look normal instead of the usual stars-in-darkness - but I don't care. And it contrasts beautifully with Death's face a few panels earlier. That moment where she squats down and puts her hand on his knee is such a sweet, sisterly gesture.

    Morpheus's little recap of past events is of course a recap, but it's also rich in character. He could just as easily say "now I have recovered my tools I lack any purpose." But no. I faced down Lucifer by the way, and oh, there was that point when a mortal nearly destroyed me with my own magic ruby. But I'm fine now, really. I'm just feeding the pigeons.

    His self-pity couldn't be more ostentatious if he carved it on his forearm in rhyming couplets.

    Some things to note when Death does her rounds:
    Harry has a painting on his wall. Quite appropriately, Ii's The Dance by Henri Matisse. Not only is the work based on the Blake painting Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing, it's also reminiscent of the danse macabre.

    Morpheus appears to look away when his sister does her job. Significant? Perhaps he's just thoughtful.

    The baby's death. You don't even see the mother's face, but it's devastating.

    And hey. How's about that last page for foreshadowing?

  2. Thanks for pointing out the Matisse painting! It's so obvious I can't believe I missed it!

    That's great symbolism though, it really suggests that Gaiman had the details of his epic pretty well sketched through right from the beginning.

    As to the last page, I didn't pick up on the foreshadowing, but now that you mention it it's totally obvious!

    He has promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps.


Powered by Blogger.