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The Sandman: A Game of You

The Sandman is one of the best comics of all time because it appeals to both male and female readers. Volume 5 of the series is one of the female stories according to author Neil Gaiman. Morpheus takes the backseat as Barbie (Rose Walker’s roommate in Volume 2) takes the spotlight. When Barbie dreams, she is the princess of a magical land called The Land. The only problem is that the Cuckoo is taking over Barbie’s dream kingdom. Barbie’s friends in her real life and dream life come to her aid, and there are triumphs, betrayals, and deaths along the way.

            Barbie used to have vivid dreams about her life as Princess Barbara, but she has stopped dreaming. An entity known as the Cuckoo is slowly destroying the Land. Her dream pal Martin Tenbones comes to the real world to bring Barbie back. He dies but still succeeds in his mission, and Princess Barbara returns to the Land. She hangs out with her talking animal friends as they make their way to confront the Cuckoo.

Back in reality, Barbie’s friends are also under attack from the Cuckoo’s minions. Luckily, her friend Thessaly is a witch and is able to use her witch powers save the other friends: a drag queen named Wanda, and two lesbians (one of which is pregnant). Then Thessaly and the lesbians use the moon to go to the Land to help Barbie and kill the Cuckoo, but only after Thessaly makes a dead guy talk by nailing his face, eyes, and tongue to the wall. Witchcraft in the Sandman universe is a little more extreme than in the Potterverse.

            The battle to save Barbie in her dreams is fought in both in her dreams and in the real world. Some of her dream friends come into the real world and some of her friends go into her dreams. There are consequences for doing that in the Sandman universe.

Gaiman was clearly inspired by Narnia and other fantasylands, but he manages to put his own spin on it. The Cuckoo is a great character. It isn’t evil, dangerous yes, but it’s only doing what it’s supposed to do. A Game of You is another great addition to the Sandman saga.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Sandman: Season of Mists

Season of Mists is the fourth volume of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, collecting issues #21-28. It’s about Morpheus trying to correct a past mistake and ending up with the key to Hell. Word gets out, and a bunch of gods, demons, and entities all try to convince the Dream King to give them control of Hell. It would make a great reality show.

Ten thousand years ago Morpheus had a lover who pissed him off, so he banished her to Hell. When his sister tells him that it was kind of a dick move, he decides to set things right by going to Hell and freeing Nada. He shows up in Hell expecting Lucifer to put up a fight and instead finds him in the process of shutting everything down. He’s bored of his job and doesn’t want to do it anymore. He gives Morpheus the key to the empty realm and tells him to do what he wants with it.

Morpheus returns to the Dreaming and gets a bunch of visitors who all want Hell for their own selfish reasons. Odin, Loki, Thor, Order, Chaos, Anubis, Bast, a few demons, a few representatives from Faerie, and various other mythical and religious icons show up and all try to bribe, manipulate, or threaten Morpheus into giving them the key to Hell. But who will he choose and why? You’ll just have to read the comic and find out. Or you can just look it up online, but it won’t be as satisfying.

While Morpheus is dealing with all that shit, the banished Hell dwellers start coming back to life as ghosts. There’s a quick story about a kid named Charles Rowland and how his crappy life at a miserable boarding school gets worse when evil ghosts start torturing him. It’s a highlight of the series.

Season of Mists is one of the more important volumes in The Sandman. You find out a lot about Morpheus. Most of the important characters are featured or at least referenced in some way. It either introduces or reminds you of important plot points and foreshadows events that don’t happen until the later volumes. It’s a fact that The Sandman is one of the best comics of all time. Season of Mists is one of the reasons why.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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