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.

Glyph’s introduction to Sandman, in three parts, here, here, and here.

Preludes and Nocturnes recaps here: Glyph and Patrick tackled the first four issues, Jaybird tackled the fifth, Glyph recapped six and seven. Mike Schilling recapped number eight.

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….


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Am I the only one that both thought Breschau might be (or be based on) a real historical figure (he’s not – Gaiman has said it wouldn’t have made sense to base a character whom “nobody remembers” on someone who is remembered), and also felt weirdly sorry for the guy? Where is he gonna go?

    Lucifer, after handing over the key, “fades” from the panels in an definite visual echo of the way Destiny did in the first issue of the arc.

    I like all the Norse stuff (I am a sucker for that). Loki’s cavern beneath the world (you know it’s true, although all logic argues against it).

    Chaos’ speech bubbles use a similar font and color scheme as Delerium’s did, appropriately. And Kilderkin, Lord of Order, manifests as a cardboard box – which can impose order temporarily, but is inherently fragile, and never lasts long.

    • I didn’t look up Breschau, but I did look up Livonia. (I wanted to be the 1 in 1000 who could point to it on a map.)

      It’s on the Baltic. Around Finland.

      • Estonia area, right? (Not Michigan. I’ve been to that Livonia).

        • Yeah, the Livonians were related to the Estonians and the Finns, and spoke a related, non-Indo-European language. They were pretty much destroyed as a nation during the Northern Crusades (no religion!), and eventually assimilated by the Latvians.

          • No religion, but the Latvian Orthodox better stay away from those squirrels.

  2. Because I know you’ve had a tough week I’m gonna let that utterly unwarranted slap at Saint Liza just go by.

    A few disjointed thoughts:
    Lucifer expelling that last holdout was pretty good and also charmingly encapsulates Gaiman’s hell. Not only is it a place of unspeakable cruelty and suffering it’s all predicated on a massive lie. No one (well, very few anyhow –Nada actually is imprisoned) is imprisoned there, none of this is imposed. It’s all kindof a “What Dreams may Come” kind of psychological masochism wrapped up in a self lie. Pretty good encapsulation of the banality of evil really.

    Jaybird missed at least one gate that I recall: a rickety little wooden gate in a countryside fence. Some of the others are more obvious entries to hell but as an escaped country dweller I emphasized with that innocuous gate pretty well (though in fairness there probably should have been some grated city gate as well).

    Lucifers line in the board room lingered with me to. He doesn’t drive people to evil, he couldn’t care less about possessing their soul. I think that sentiment he expressed would break the hearts of most fundamentalists. What a mean thing to say (probably true though).

    Mazikeen is pretty cool (gross) but man the way Gaiman works her speech drives me bonkers. There’s so much of it that I want to know what she’s saying but it takes some serious mental gymnastics to work out what she’s expressing. Infuriating! No wonder Lucifer likes her.

    I mightily enjoyed Thor. He was and will proceed to be a riot.

    I even more massively enjoyed Order and Chaos. Especially Order. A box? How entirely appropriate! How it communicates? Also appropriate! Also the envoy of Chaos reminded me of Dream’s sister, but then she would wouldn’t she? I’d love to see a comic of Del and Princess whatserface just hanging out being insane together.

    Is there some point to The Merkin I’m missing? Azazel and Nada and even Choronzon make perfect sense but why’s she being brought along. Also what happened to the other two legs of Lucifer’s triumvirate? Or was that governing order entirely the at the Morningstars’ whim and was discarded as nothing once he decided to do so?

    • Jason Tank wrote that about Liza, not JB. And I have to say, that was a funny line.

      Regarding Lucifer’s boardroom/executive office – I love the details (the desktop computer, chair/desk). It’s delightful.

      Regarding the triumvirate, yeah, Lucifer explains that – any “government” of Hell existed entirely at his whim; the demons would come to him and say, this is the way things are, and he’d mostly just let them, because it briefly diverted him (he says he could have destroyed any or all of the demons without breaking a sweat). But now that he’s hung it up, he disabused them of the notion that they were ruling in any real sense.

    • Mazikeen is, as I understand it, one of the Daughters of Lilith. (This isn’t explained until the Lucifer series, however.)

      This is one of those things that makes sense, kinda, insofar as you figure out who is populating hell and what they’re doing there and whatnot, and, well… I guess the Daughters of Lilith had to do something and Hell was hiring.

      (Also, this was Jason Tank, not Jaybird)

      I thought that Azazel was one of the two legs, was he not? (The other guy being the fly guy who, interestingly enough, isn’t anywhere around at all… and this makes me wonder if this story came out at the same time as the opening arc of Hellblazer which would, I suppose, explain the fly guy’s absence.)

      • I thought she was referred to as a Daughter of Lilith in this chapter. I do not have it with me, so I cannot check.

        At the point that Garth Ennis took over Hellblazer, there was still the trinity, so this would have been even later. Actually, I think it might have been Constantine’s trick that resulted in the shared rule. Again, memory is fuzzy.

        Still, Beelzebul could have been busy with some plot or other. There is no reason to think he would still get along with Azazel.

        • No, no. I’m talking about Jamie Delano’s opening story arc.

          There was a fight against, I want to say, The Lord Of The Flies. (Whoops! It was, in fact, Mnemoth. So… never mind.)

        • Yep, Lucifer introduces her to Dream as “Mazikeen, a daughter of Lillith”.

    • Whoah, I did indeed miss the little country gate. And, funnily enough, it’s the one that I would most recognize. Its importance is hinted at two episodes from now, but it’s only obvious through looking at a different Gaiman work: Pyhenpna bs Snrevr zragvbaf gung Snrevr unf gb gvgur gb Uryy. Naq va Fgneqhfg, Tnvzna vagebqhprf hf gb n gbja pnyyrq Jnyy, jvgu n fznyy tngr va vg gung yrnqf gb Snrevr. Gurersber, gung jnf cebonoyl gur tngr orgjrra Uryy naq Snrevr.

      P.S. I would argue that Nada was free to leave, as well. She only strongly believed that Dream imprisoned her there. Guvf vagrecergngvba vf urnivyl uvagrq ng va gur svany rcvfbqr, gbb, jvgu Anqn zhfvat gung fur pbhyq unir yrsg ng nal gvzr. (Qernz cbyvgryl qvfnterrf, gubhtu.)

    • If you read Mazikeen’s speeches out loud, it may help. Lilith and her daughters are from Jewish folklore, where she was Adam’s first wife. There are lots of versions of what happened next, one of which is told in The Parliament of Rooks.

      I like this Azazel. In the first book he’s kind of plain; here he looks more like a rip in reality with hungry mouths and eyes on the other side.

      The Sandman lettering is always worth a careful look. I assume everyone noticed each of the Endless – with one exception – has a distinct style. I wonder if that exception is significant – well, no; I’m sure it’s significant, so I wonder how it’s significant.

      • Mazikeen:

        “My Lord Lucifer… Greetings, my Lord.”

        “No. You are still my Lord. I will not forsake you…. I love you, master.”

        “Lucifer, where you go, I will follow. Let me go with you. Please. I must stay by your side forever.”

        (Lucifer helps out by echoing key parts.)

  3. The Merkin has a job to do, that is why it was brought along.

    • But I have heard it said that there are certain jobs that a Merkin’s not gonna do, and that’s why Hell has so many immigrants.

      (No politics).

      • God-damned immigrants. (No religion or politics, just literalism.)

  4. Suddenly crazy busy in the office, but wanted to offer minimum level of participation by saying this is my favorite part of the entire story arc!

  5. Order and Chaos seem to me to be a nod to Dungeons & Dragons.

    I like Thor as a muscle-bound lug. Not so fond of Loki as a speed-freaked elf.

Comments are closed.