Tag Archives: hell

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

If you say that you like comics and you’ve never read The Sandman, then you don’t know even what comics are capable of. In this first volume of the acclaimed series, writer Neil Gaiman introduces you The Sandman, who is also known as Dream, Morpheus, or a dozen other pseudonyms. Dream is what he sounds like, he is the master of the Dreamworld, he controls dreams, he is Dream. Not a bad gig right? Neil Gaiman blends history, myth, religion, magic, and creates one of the best works of literature of all time. Yeah, it’s that fucking good.

Preludes & Nocturnes collects the first eight issues of the series. It begins in 1916 when Roderick Burgess tries to capture Death and winds up capturing her brother Dream instead. Dream is held captive for more than seventy years. Burgess dies and his son Alex takes over holding Dream hostage. Dream is able to escape, and traps Alex in a perpetual nightmare as punishment.

Dream returns to the Dreamworld and Cain and Abel restore his health. As Dream inspects his kingdom, he finds it in shambles. That’s what happens when you neglect your kingdom for a few decades. Dream embarks on a quest for his totems of power: a bag of sand, his helm, and his ruby, which he lost while imprisoned.

Dream decides to track down his sand pouch first. He gets a little help from John Constantine. One of Constantine’s ex-girlfriends has it and eventually Dream is reunited with his magic dream sand.

Next up is the helm, and Dream finds out that a demon has it. He goes to Hell to pay Lucifer a visit and reclaim it. He has a battle of wits with the demon that currently lays claim to it. Dream is victorious and leaves Hell with Lucifer and the demons grudging against him.

The last item he seeks is his ruby, and that is the hardest one to obtain. Dream put a lot of his power into it, so much that whoever is in possession of it is more powerful than him. And a creepy little guy named John Dee has it now. You might recognize John Dee as the DC villain Doctor Destiny.

John Dee wreaks some havoc toying with the Dreamworld and disrupting the order of things. John Dee and Dream have a dual and Dream is losing when John Dee destroys the Ruby and its power is returned to Dream, making him more powerful than he’s been in centuries.

Preludes & Nocturnes wraps up by introducing Death, Dream’s punky, gothic, and attractive sister. They have a weird little family dynamic. You can tell they are siblings by the way they converse and bicker with each other. They have an interesting conversation as Dream feeds pigeons and as Death goes around collecting recently deceased souls.

Preludes & Nocturnes does a great job of establishing Dream/Morpheus as the brooding and powerful main character. You begin to understand who he is and what he is capable of. And you learn that he has a lot of flaws for a semi-deity. There are introductions to a lot of characters that have key roles in the series later on. They plant the seeds for story arcs that only become apparent as you read on.

Neil Gaiman is gearing up to take you on a great ride. He’s preparing your mind for a world where anything can happen, and by the end of this volume you are ready to embrace the world of The Sandman.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

What Dreams May Come (film)

Vincent Ward directs Robin Williams in one of his more dramatic roles. This is not a comedy. This is a depressing movie about death and the afterlife. It’s about the lengths a guy will go through to be reunited with his soul mate. It’s based on a book that I never read and probably never will because I’ve seen the movie.

Robin Williams plays Dr. Chris Nielsen, and when he was young, he met an artist named Annie (Annabella Sciorra). They fell in love and had a couple of kids and life was good. Then life wasn’t so good when their kids died in a car accident. Annie goes a little crazy with grief and tries to kill herself, but Chris pulls her through. He is her strength, her rock. And then he dies too, and Annie is all alone.

Chris is dead, but he’s not gone. A part of him still exists and he stays around for a while. A blurry Cuba Gooding, Jr. appears and acts as his guide to the afterlife. They watch Annie grieving at his funeral and at his gravesite. He has to move on and so he goes to his own personal Heaven.

You create your own Heaven and Chris goes into his wife’s paintings. His old Dalmatian is there and so is Cuba Gooding, Jr. and he’s no longer blurry. Cuba identifies himself as Albert Lewis, Chris’s old mentor. He teaches Chris the basics of Heaven, what you can and can’t do, free your mind, all that hoopla. Chris and Albert see a tree that wasn’t in the painting before. Annie just painted it, and they are able to reach each other through her art. Because they are soul mates. And that’s how it works.

Chris mentions that he hasn’t seen his kids. Albert says he will see them when he wants to see them. Even though he saw his dog right away. I guess we know his priorities. Chris continues touring Heaven and meets a hot Asian chick. She ends up being his daughter. I saw this movie in theaters and I was really confused at this point, because I thought he had two sons that died in a car accident. I didn’t know that the younger kid was a girl. Girls should have long hair. I thought he just had an effeminate son. Anyway, the hot Asian chick is his daughter. His daughter assumed the form of a sexy Asian because her dad said that Asians were sexy. So she wanted to look attractive for her daddy. That’s kinda gross. And I guess that even though Chris loves Annie he still has a case of yellow fever.

So after this awkward father-daughter reunion, Albert tells Chris that Annie committed suicide and is now in Hell. She was suffering and she ended her suffering and ended up in Hell. When the dog was suffering and they ended his suffering, it ended up in Heaven. Why did she end up down there and the dog end up in Heaven? Did they murder the dog? Is that the difference?

Anyway, Chris decides he wants to go to Hell to rescue Annie. Albert takes him to a Tracker (Max von Sydow). They all go to Hell, and Chris remembers telling his son that he wouldn’t walk through Hell with anyone other than him. And he realizes that Albert is actually his son. So the first two people he meets in the afterlife were actually his kids and they were lying to his face. Everyone lies in Heaven. Maybe his dog is really his old cat.

So Albert/Actually-his-son stays behind and Chris and the Tracker go through Hell to find Annie. And the Tracker reveals that he is actually the real Albert Lewis, the same guy who his son was pretending to be. Small world or lazy writing?

Chris finds Annie trapped in her own personal Hell. She doesn’t recognize him. He chooses to stay in Hell with her and they end up back in Heaven. Because they are soul mates and that’s how it works. They are reunited in Heaven with their two kids and it seems like the perfect ending. But Chris and Annie decide to get reincarnated and get sent back to Earth to start a new life together. The two kids get to stay in Heaven and not live full lives, while their parents get to go back and start a new family and forget about their two kids they already had. That’s a terrible ending. It’s child neglect from beyond the grave.

This is not a comedy. Just because you see Robin Williams on the cover doesn’t mean it’s a good time. This movie is sad. It tries to be uplifting but it fails. There are great depictions of Heaven and Hell, and the plot seems original at first, but it becomes mundane. It’s a decent movie, but I wouldn’t say it is essential viewing.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment