Our assignment was to read the third and fourth issues of Season of Mists: Chapter Two and Chapter Three. Jason Tank will be reviewing both this week.
A Doll’s House recaps here: KatherineMW took on the first two issues, then the next two issues. KatherineMW and Jason Tank then reviewed the fifth and sixth, respectively. Mike Schilling reviewed the final two issues.
Dream Country recaps here: Glyph reviewed Caliope then Jaybird and Maribou reviewed Dream of a Thousand Cats in the first review post for Dream Country. Alan Scott reviewed A Midsummer Night’s Dream then Mike Schilling reviewed Façade in the second.
Season of Mists recaps here: Jaybird reviewed the first two in this post.
It’s very difficult to discuss this book without discussing the next one (or the one ofter that, or the one after that), if you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.
We good? We good! Everybody who has done the reading, see you after the cut!
Episode 2: In which the Lord of Dreams returns to Hell, and his confrontation with the Lord of that realm; in which a number of doors are closed for the last time; and concerning the strange disposition of a knife and a key.
We open as Dream flies through nowhere (literally a lack of “where”), thinking to himself how cold he is and how little he wants to do this, yet must. He must.
Dream has lost his personification. He is a helmet and a sheet, sometimes a ragged bird, sometimes a swirling mass blown by a wind that no one else feels. Hell itself is dull by comparison. (But then, why would Hell be interesting? In Ethan Cohen’s play Waiting, Hell is just a waiting room. No Exit treats it the same. Novel sights would temper the torment.)
He travels through Hell and discovers Nada is missing. (He has a moment that, nowadays, recalls the worst moment of Revenge of the Sith. Let’s forget this.) Only afterwards does he realize that no one is around. Hell is empty.
Dream shouts for Lucifer Morningstar (a fairly gothy name when you put it that way), who finally appears and informs us that he’s quit. Dream has an appropriately comic reaction: a silent double take. In a comic.
Lucifer’s no longer the David Bowie of before. Now he’s ordinary, save for the bat wings. He drops the ‘royal we’ as he explains he has a few things left to do. Dream asks a fairly newbie question about the size of Hell, which is just an excuse for Lucifer to expound on the question for the reader. He evicts the final tennant, hammering home the point that people stay in Hell of their own free will.
They move on and evict the last demons: a Beelzebaby, a jackal (is it a jackal? a jackal? is it a jackal?) and something that looks like an infant with a cobra for an umbilicus. They believe he’s not the real Lucifer, and the true Lord of Hell wouldn’t abandon the War Against Heaven, etc, etc. Lucifer banishes them without really adressing the complaints. Instead, he addresses them to Dream. He’s tired. He’s changed. (Dream politely declines the implication that he has changed, too.) We’re treated to a small flashback of The Fall, as Samael becomes Lucifer.
Lucifer wonders how much of his life was planned, and how much he just went along with. He complains about being blamed for every wrongdoing, and then expected to punish those same wrongdoers who blamed him. He wants to shake his life up and start over. Meanwhile, he seals the remaining gates of Hell with a key that (in the trade magazine) we’ve seen on every episode divider. Must be important! The doors are various: One is a door to a torture chamber. One looks like an anus. Another is the door to a boardroom. Yet another is a giant castle door, and the last is a floating gob of… something.
There is more talk. Keywords: responsibility, freedom.
Mazikeen appears. Gaiman wrote her dialogue while trying to use only one side of his face, leaving the other slack. She’s half of the ugliest kiss I’ve seen since Liza Minelli’s last wedding.
Lucifer asks Dream to cut off his wings. Dream pesters him about Nada while doing so. Lucifer has no idea where she is. But he doesn have something for him: the key to Hell. “Perhaps it will destroy you,” he says.
Dream feels cold again.
Episode 3: In which Lucifer’s parting gift attracts unwanted attention; and the Dream Lord receives unwelcome visitors.
We start somewhere new, in Asgard. We meet Odin. We meet Loki. We see them strike a deal to obtain Lucifer’s Hell.
Dream returns home. (There’s a figure in the door behind him. I do not know who it is. I only noticed it just now. Any ideas, readers?) Cain, Abel and Matthew are waiting for him. He doesn’t want to talk to them.
Back in Asgard, Thor is not Marvel’s Thor, and he thor ith upthet about Loki being free. (If you think this joke is bad, wait until Gaiman tops me in a few episodes.) They head for The Dreaming.
Dream ponders the key, remembers Lucifer’s taunt, and smashes a mirror in anger. Then he quickly restores the mirror and removes his ceremonial garb. Pants, boots and a tank top. He buries his face in his hands. Aside from the flashback, it’s two pages of an austere, black and white throne room. Cold and beautiful.
Order and Chaos have the same thought process.
Dream redresses ceremonially and asks for a chat with Death. She’s kinda busy. The emptying of Hell has made her job… interesting. For once, she has no advice.
The Silver City. Duma and Remiel fall towards The Dreaming.
The demons are massing in Limbo. Azazel is leading them. He will take Choronzon (once owner of Dream’s helmet) and The Merkin with him to reclaim Hell. (Oh, and they have Nada, too.)
The Dreaming. Matthew visits Eve in her cave. Dream has moved the castle to a mountaintop in an obvious show of “LEAVE ME ALONE!” But it doesn’t help. Gods and envoys and such have arrived. Dream’s first thought is to keep them out, but no, he must see them in. He has responsibilities, after all.
One by one they announce themselves. The Asgardians. The Egyptians. Japanese. Demons. Order. Chaos. Angels, with their angelic script font, like and unlike Lucifer’s haughty script.
Dream welcomes them all. And tomorrow, they will talk.
It says something about the skill of Gaiman and his artists that this episode is fun to read. After all, nothing happens. People come to The Dreaming. And they are told to wait. One deal is struck early on, but that’s it. Nothing happens. But it’s still fun. And there are things here that will have repercussions far into the future….