Blogging The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Part 5
Holy mashed potatoes, Batman, that’s the Scarecrow at the beginning of this chapter! He is dangling from a makeshift noose just to say “April Fools” to any passersby, with classic Scarecrow humor. Let’s take a moment to discuss why this fear-obsessed freak is one of my favorite super villains:
- When he’s not wearing his mask to freak people out for his own pleasure, he wears sexy glasses.
- I was a psychology major in college, so I appreciate this little nod to the field. Even if Jonathan Crane is an absurd, utterly inaccurate, and woefully stereotypical representation of psych students.
- Once I was on a date full of Thai food and talkies, and we picked this up because I simply liked the creepy drawings. I fell in love Crane's dark brooding past, his mind games, and how similar he is to my darling Bruce Wayne in so many ways. My date was jealous.
- They made him hot when they cast Cillian Murphy. What?! Yes please.
Unfortunately, Scarecrow is only around for two pages, and Dr. Destiny is off to hijack a poor, unsuspecting blonde lady who just happens to be driving around in the middle of the night near Arkham Asylum. At first, she is terrified by the cadaverous creature that just crawled into her car demanding to be taking to his precious ruby, and understandably so. Eventually, however, pity wins, and she engages in some nurturing conversation with him. She even offers him a coat.
After some mild prodding from his forcefully procured chauffeur, Dr. Destiny explains that he escaped Arkham Asylum in order to find his ruby. It isn’t really a ruby, he tells her, but more of a solidified dream. It also can no longer be used by anyone but him.
Meanwhile, we have the pleasure of entering someone’s dream montage, yet again. This particular sequence belongs to none other than Mister Miracle of the Justice League, and I didn’t even have to invoke the wisdom of the great Google to figure that one out because I’m so comic book savvy.
Ok, maybe just a little Googling happened. Accidentally.
This dream is downright terrifying, depicting a small child suffering through a series of surreal horrors at the hands of his Granny Goodness. Thanks to some mad escaping skills, the mini Scott Free manages to cheat various violent deaths in this never-ending torture trap. For instance, in one panel, the child is seen climbing from a creepy mechanical pipe with the text “I reach the womb, the exit. The box.”
Psychoanalyze THAT one, guys.
All of these disturbing traps continue to torment Mister Miracle until Morpheus graciously rescues him from his fitful sleep. Oh, that Morpheus. So kind and sweet and concerned, right? Nope, he just wants his ruby. Oh noes! Can this be the same exact ruby that Dr. Destiny is searching for? Of course it is. Comic books are nothing if not charmingly incidental.
Just to be sure they didn’t accidentally throw out the ruby with the bathwater, Scott Free double checks with his pal Martian Manhunter, who falls to his knees in the presence of Morpheus. Apparently on Mars, Dream is kind of a big deal. The Martian informs Dream that his stone is in storage. You know, that place they always keep dangerous ancient artifacts with untold powers. It’s probably in a shoebox next to a clump of silly putty and a tape of New Kids On The Block. J'onn J'onzz offers to give Dream the address to the storage facility, but silly Martian, addresses are for mortals.
On the wings of a freakish vision-wad, Morpheus arrives at Mayhew Storage. I’m assuming that’s a reference to Jonathan Mayhew, aka “El Sombrero” the deathtrap maker. Now, I definitely had to Google that one (El SOMBRERO? Are you SERIOUS? That’s actually a name he CHOSE to take?!).
The ruby glows and flickers from inside a crate (silly putty and cassette tape sadly missing), and Morpheus caresses his long lost treasure. Unfortunately, the ruby isn’t too happy to see Morpheus, and begins erupting with red bubbly fury. The explosion leaves Dream curled up on the floor shivering, unable to touch the stone.
Outside, Dr. Destiny and the blonde lady are just arriving. She wishes him luck, tells him to keep the coat and to get help. Then just when you begin to pity the poor wretch and chalk all his crimes up to a bad upbringing, he shoots the woman who helped him, letting her die alone in a rainy parking lot. Inside the storage facility, Morpheus is still unconscious, leaving the ruby unattended. In a very Gollum-esque manner, he takes the ruby for himself, then heads to a coffee shop to wait for the end of the world.
- Driving alone on a dark and stormy night near criminally insane infested territory is generally a bad idea.
- If you want to stand a chance in the competitive business of deathtrap making, assume an identity other than “wide-brimmed hat.”
- It is very difficult to write about Sandman in a PG setting... unless we pretend super villains are only semi-sadists, people never have awkward sexy dreams, and super heroes only fight crime because of the minor inconveniences it would cause in our candy and rainbow bespeckled lives.
What's the creepiest super villain you'd NEVER want to meet in real life?