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Blogging The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Part 4

Blogging The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Part 4

As usual, Dream opens with another monologue all about how he’s just sitting there playing with his newly acquired bag of sand, contemplating what it will be like to go visit Hell in search of his helm. I wonder what normal, everyday, mortal life would be like for him.

Normal person: Oh, it’s morning time and I’m waking up. I should take a shower because I’m stinky.

Dream: Alone, I wake in the blinding light of the breaking day. I must cleanse this foul stench from my tall, dark, and dangerously handsome body.

Normal person: I’m out of milk and cereal. Guess I’ll go to the grocery store.

Dream: I hunger for something milky, crunchy, and magically delicious. I shall journey to the ends of Heaven, Hell, and Earth to find what I crave. Even Wal-mart, if I must.

Normal person: It’s cold outside, so I’ll wear my jacket and have a cup of tea.

Dream: There is a chill in the air, so I shall cloak myself in eternal darkness and then drink the hot tears of a thousand feverish puppies.

Normal person: Gonna hop on the bus now.

Dream: I am a passenger in dreams! My transport is each mortal’s nightly visions! My bus is made of agonizing screams and thunderous laughter and smells like chocolate chip cookies!

Thusly, Dream heads on down to Hell.

Hell, as one might expect, is pretty yucky. The gates are made from the disassembled body parts of some very unfortunate residents. One of whom must be a really huge nerd, because he has managed to keep his glasses on his face even though his head is no longer attached to his body.

After a long walk through the Wood of Suicides (thriving these days, apparently), Dream and his demon guide pass a series of cells hewn into the side of a cliff. A woman reaches out from one of the cells and begs Dream to release her, reminding him that they were once in love. He refuses, claiming he has not yet forgiven her. I’m not really sure what the back story is there, but I’m intrigued. The idea of Dream as a lover is fascinating, but seeing this woman in Hell is evidence that Dream is the worst, most vindictive ex-boyfriend ever. Kind of a turnoff.

Finally, Dream reaches Lucifer’s palace, only to find out that Hell is now a Triumvirate, and none of the three leaders has any idea which demon has his helm. In order to find out, they summon every demon in Hell to a mass assembly and Dream releases a sandy whirlwind to point the way to the fiend in possession of his precious artifact.  The culprit, as it turns out, is a neon pink, sexually ambiguous creature in funky glasses and fishnets named Choronzon. And Choronzon won’t give up the helm without a fight.

This fight is really more of dream-off that takes place on a stage in front of an audience, with each participant attempting to outdo the other. It’s essentially a mix of a supernatural round of Rock Paper Scissors and a poetry slam, only both players demonstrate excessive use of “parachute” and “volcano” and any number of made-up counterattacks. Ultimately, Dream wins by using “Hope” as the ultimate retaliation against evil in the universe.  Choronzon, the cocky little duke of Hell, has nothing to say to that.

Perhaps it is my confusion about how that game actually works or the fact that this terrible 90s art is starting to make my eyes cross. But honestly, I’m stuck somewhere between “what a beautiful moment!” and “what a massive cliché!” in regards to that hope-trumps-all situation.

After winning his helm back, Dream turns to leave. Lucifer has other plans, and claims that the million lords of Hell will not let him go, and there is nothing he can do about it since Dream has no power here. To this, Dream simply asks, “What power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of heaven?”

While the stumped demons ponder quietly, the Lord of Dreams takes his leave. Lucifer swears that one day, he will destroy him.

Pop Quiz:

1. Dating an immortal with the power to condemn you to eternal torment: Is this a bad idea? Show your work. You may receive partial credit for proper calculations even if your answer is wrong.

2. Should demons wear pink if they want to look intimidating?

a)     Mostly yes.

b)     Partially no.

c)     Yes, but only on Tuesdays.

d)     Peach, raspberry, and coral. Never magenta.

3. True or False: Squatterbloat would be a great name for a goldfish.

Leave your answers in the comments section.

Tags: death, books-and-comics, dc comics, the sandman, allison emm, vertigo comics

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About the Author
Allison Emm

Allison Emm is a writer, illustrator, and handmade soap enthusiast hailing from Boulder, CO. She is fond of bookish and ruggedly handsome mountain men, blue spruce trees, birds of prey, starships, and yarn.

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