The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Note: Just before I started this, word came down that Netflix has renewed its Sandman series for its second season, which will presumably tackle this volume. Talk about serendipity.)
Dream of the Endless, or Morpheus, is sometimes not the main character in this comic, but in this volume he takes center stage. This is the rematch between Dream and Lucifer Morningstar, but it turns out not to be a fight at all. When Dream shows up in Hell to rescue the past love he condemned there ten thousand years ago (Dream apparently has spells of being a dick, and this was one of them), he finds Lucifer is kicking all the demons and dead out and closing up the place. And because Dream is there at the very last, he ends up unwittingly getting the key to Hell as Lucifer leaves.
This may be devilishly underhanded on Lucifer's part (see what I did there), although the story seems to indicate he really wanted to leave it behind. Ten billion years of supervising Hell can wear on anybody, I suppose, even a fallen angel. At any rate, Dream is now stuck with Hell and has no idea what to do with it. Worse, gods and goddesses from all the other pantheons hear about this and show up at Dream's doors, determined to get the key by hook or by crook.
(This will be an interesting part of the adaptation, seeing as Thor and Loki figure prominently in the comic. We're so used to the Marvel versions of these characters, it will be fun to see how they are depicted here.)
The solution to Dream's dilemma is an unexpected twist, and an even more dickish move on the Creator's part. It also leads to a rather unsettling ending to the story, as the new overlords of Hell are going to be worse, in an entirely different way, than Lucifer ever was.
Dream is set back on his heels a bit, and has one of the few instances of remorse and regret I'm sure he's felt in his long life. We also see more of the Endless, with a focus on the youngest, Delirium. This is going to be a fascinating story to bring to the screen, and I'm really looking forward to it.
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