Tonight, Jason Tank recaps Parts Four and Five of The Kindly Ones.
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 Calliope 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. Jason Tank reviewed the next two here. Boegiboe reviewed the next two after that here and here. Ken reviewed the final two here.
Fables and Reflections recaps here: Ken and Jaybird reviewed the preview plus the first two issues here. Mike Schilling and Jaybird did the next two issues here. KatherineMW did the next issue here. Glyph, Ken, and Russell did the Sandman Special issues here.
Brief Lives recaps here: Jason Tank recapped Chapter 1 and Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 2 here. Reformed Republican recapped Chapter 3 and Jaybird recapped Chapter 4 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 5 and Glyph recapped Chapter 6 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 7 and Glyph recapped Chapter 8 here.
World’s End issues #51 (A Tale of Two Cities) and #52 (Cluracan’s Tale) reviewed here by Jason Tank and James K. Issues #53 (Hob’s Leviathan) and #54 (The Golden Boy) reviewed here by KatherineMW and Reformed Republican. Ken reviewed Issues #55 (Cerements) and #56 (“World’s End”) here.
It’s very difficult to discuss this book without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that (if there were one after that, anyway.)) 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 below!
We start as Remiel comes to visit Lucifer. Remiel has returned to the habit of floating, putting on airs that he’s still as pure as the day before he took over Hell. Mazikeen, in contrast, is scrubbing the floors. She directs him to Lucifer, where Remiel continues his sunniness and mentions how the early bird catches the worm, then gets biblical with reference to the “worm that dieth not”, itself a reference to the Old Testament.
Lucifer, typical night owl, hates this morning cheeriness and counters with sarcasm. He slowly tears into Remiel, first forcing him to admit that he wishes Lucifer to return (giving a classic “HAHAHA-no” answer), then following with a withering review of Remiel’s character, to the point where he even deduces that Duma had to take the key. This angers Remiel enough to spit on Lucifer, who makes a point of telling Remiel exactly how little he thinks of him: not even worth the trouble of killing. Remiel returns to Hell shaken, but still manages to lie (by implication) to Duma about why he never got around to asking “about the Dream King situation”…
Title page: Can we just stare at this one a while? I give the artist grief, but he’s excellent at surreal art like this. On one side, Lyta walks the waking world. On the other, she walks the lands of the Space Coyote (voiced by Johnny Cash). It’s gorgeous.
In the fantasy, she meets a woman in Robin Hood garb, speaking in a vaguely Scottish way. In reality, she’s a scantily-dressed woman who gives down-on-her-luck Lyta a coin. In fantasy, she warns Lyta not to refer to “them” as furies.
Next she finds a naked female cyclops bound to sevens (like Dream’s family, maybe). In reality, she’s either a bespectacled man or a crosswalk button. Again, she is warned not to call them furies.
A cat crosses Lyta’s path. In fantasy, it’s Bast with an eyepatch. She says to call them “the nice ladies” or “the kind ladies”, then leaves to fulfill her part in a story, one she can never leave. The transformation game echoes the one where Dream reclaimed his helm in Hell, way back in the first collection. Being stuck in a story one must fulfill… that’s right up Dream’s alley, too.
Meanwhile, Rose is having a sex dream that makes me jealous, because I never get any even halfway this good. She’s interrupted when she noticed Abel peeping at her, clutching a bucket of popcorn. This isn’t the timid, “nice” Abel I would have expected, but it makes sense.
Carla interrupts, waking her. Rose explains her dream, and mentions something about wanting Abel’s eyes to fall out. In the background, there’s a poster of a man wearing dark sunglasses. Foreshadowing. Get it?
Carla can’t find Lyta. Rose is in town for a dying friend. The cops never talked to Rose, and the card they gave Carla is now blank. Odd.
Meanwhile, Lyta has stumbled upon a house with two women inside. They appear to be wearing wedding dresses with veils, much like what Zelda and Chantal used to wear back in “A Game of You”, and their home is full of statues. They are Stheno and Euryale, and they miss their dead, mortal sister, and want to return to being a mystical trio.
Outside, Lyta comes across a three-headed serpent in an apple tree with the names Aegle, Erythia, and Arethusa. The apples give something like immortality, and Gaiman makes the biblical comparison bluntly. The snake also breaks down Hippolyta Hall’s name into its component parts: a Queen of the Amazons, a corridor connecting places, and “less dark”. It’s foreshadowing: Gur svefg vf ure, gur frpbaq ure dhrfg, naq gur guveq vf gur erfhyg bs gung dhrfg, Qnavry nf gur arj Qernz.
The snake warns her that eating the sisters’ food and sleeping in their house could change her, but she eats anyway. In reality, Lyta eats a rotten apple from a dumpster, a lizard of some sort watching her from above. We don’t see what form the two women have in the real world.
Meanwhile, Dream finds the Corninthian’s skull, duplicates it, and take the new one out into the Dreaming. Matthew and Lucius miss Nuala, and Mervyn is comic relief, as usual. Morpheus makes two comments find interesting. First: a half-wit may say the emperor has no clothes, but the emperor is still an emperor and the half-wit is still a half-wit. Second: he is as much an aspect of the Dreaming as the Dreaming is an aspect of him.
Dream places the skull within a newly re-created Corinthian, and he awakens. At this point, I’m going to point out something I read elsewhere: of all the major characters in this arc, most are drawn with hard, angular lines. The Corinthian and Daniel are the only two who aren’t. Make of that what you will.
Lyta has slept in the sisters’ home. As promised, changes start to take place: she grows snakes in her hair. The missing sister is named: Medusa. Lyta finally realizes they are Gorgons and flatly rejects the offer to become their third. She has a powerful moment where she swears she will have her revenge… and quickly undercuts it by complaining that her hair drank most of her water.
Meanwhile, Rose meets her dying friend. It’s Zelda, and she still has spiders on display in her room. She looks awful, like a walking corpse, but she’s only 30 years old. Rose is paying her bills. Zelda has two things to say to Rose. First, dying makes you horny as fuck. Second, Rose’s dead grandma Unity wants her to visit the place where she slept.
Meanwhile, the Corinthian, Matthew and Dream discuss life, after a fashion. Everything has a purpose, a nature. Dream sends them off together to find a boy and bring him to the Dreaming….
Meanwhile, Titania and Nuala banter in Faerie. Nuala has changed much, and Titania is not pleased.
Meanwhile, Lyta has taken leave of the sisters. For a brief moment, we see that they have no real-world analogue. In a closeup, however, they have the gaunt face of Zelda and spiders aplenty.
Meanwhile, Carla discovers the police haven’t heard anything about a kidnapping, and Pinkerton and Fellowes don’t seem to exist on the force. As she gives up and leaves, a crazy man tells her that Lyta has people in her head and snakes in her hair….
Carla goes home and finds the picture of burned-up Daniel. It spontaneously unburns itself, and the image of Daniel gurgles out Carla’s name. Then it explodes into a minor inferno that scorches Carla from hand to elbow. Rose arrives, back from Zelda, and bandages her up.
Meanwhile, Lyta talks with two versions of herself in the mirror. They tell her that her task is doomed to fail.
Later, Pinkerton catches up with Carla. He does some Jedi mind tricks on Carla, forces her to sit paralyzed in a car, then incinerates them both. He reveals himself as Loki Skywalker and announces, “I will be under an obligation to no one.”
Regarding Loki’s actions: Guvf vf nobhg nf pybfr nf lbh trg gb na rkcynangvba sbe Ybxv’f npgvbaf. Vg’f abg rknpgyl pyrne jul ur jnagrq gb ohea Qnavry’f zbegnyvgl njnl, naq vg’f abg pyrne vs ur’f qbvat guvf ng nalbar ryfr’f ovqqvat, ohg vg’f pyrne ur jnagf gb qrfgebl Qernz, naq vg’f cbffvoyr, gubhtu abg irel cynhfvoyr, gung ur pbhyq sbefrr gung Qnavry jbhyq or gur arj nfcrpg bs Qernz (juvpu ur pbhyq cbffvoyl pbageby, be ng yrnfg abg unir n qrog gbjneqf) naq gung xvqanccvat uvz jbhyq yrnq gb Zbecurhf’f qbjasnyy.