The Dreaming No. 5: The Judge and Dora make big decisions


The Dreaming charges forwards with a powerful new issue.

In case you haven’t been following along, Vertigo Comics put out four new series set in the Sandman universe. Lucifer, House of Whispersand Books of Magic all involve characters from the much-beloved worlds crafted by Neil Gaiman. But The Dreaming is exclusively set in Dream’s homeland, the place where all dreams exist, or never existed, or came to die, or however you choose to romanticize those sleep-thoughts. Cleverly written by Simon Spurrier, wondrously illustrated by Bilquis Evely and Abigail Larson, immaculately colored by Mat Lopes and Quinton Winter, and lettered by the illustrious Simon Bowland, this issue deals with characters losing their minds, finding lost memories, and the dangers of lucid dreamers in the land of Dream.

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Revolution in the Dreaming, and despair in the kingdom of Destruction

Last issue, Dora and Lucien the Librarian escaped the clutches of Judge Gallows by slipping into the abandoned realm of Destruction, where Lucien planned to hide the helm of Dream. This issue picks up with the denizens of the Dreaming staging a revolt, fighting back against Gallows’ henchmen, coming to the castle where Gallows has taken refuge and seeking him out for revenge. The castle guards play both sides, alerting the Judge that the populace is coming while also giving the rioters access to the secret entrance into the castle, unbeknownst to the Judge, who is up to something naughty involving ghostly green ropes. Over in the Fulcrum, abandoned land of Destruction, Lucien appears to be losing his mind, able to hear the narration provided for the reader as thoughts in his own head, while Dora gets upset at Lucien’s craven attitude and grabs Destruction’s sigil, a giant sword.

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Enlightenment inside Destruction, and deadly cascades inside the Dreaming

When she grabs Destruction’s sword, Dora relives her memories of being “not real”, which bring her great pain. But then she is shown memories she was intended to forget: a conversation with Dream, the original dream, not Daniel, the new Dream. He explains to her that in return for healing her from the pain of being “not real”, he will give her a gift, every day, and when she finally chooses to become herself, fully, again, those gifts will be the stepping stones towards that integration. Seems convoluted, but that’s the way Dream usually does things. As Dora learns this and prepares to head back to the Dreaming and put the hurt on Judge Gallows, Lucien begins to fall apart and slowly transform back into the raven he used to be.

Vertigo Comics

Meanwhile, our courageous residents of the Dreaming have made their way into the castle, only to find Judge Gallows has harnessed the power of a “milam cascade”; lucid dreamers whose awareness allows their dream-crafting powers to literally change the reality of the Dreaming. Gallows has woven dark magical spells, binding their powers to himself, and he appears to disintegrate Matthew the raven. Back in the Fulcrum, Dora attempts to bring herself and Lucien back to the Dreaming, but Gallows has sealed the gates with his cascade. Also, Dora abandons Lucien in the space in between realms, using her powers to enter the Dreaming. Lucien falls and falls, only to end up at the feet of Daniel, the missing Lord of Dreams.

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Lucien thinks he is saved, but Daniel/Dream gives him a pretty weak speech full of foreboding and lamentations about the end of the realm of Dream, tells him he will probably die soon, and says he’s leaving “everywhere”. The issue ends with Dream fading into the starry night sky. Seems pretty despairing, so perhaps he will end up in one of the Endless’ realms. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.