The Dreaming No. 6: ‘Broken ain’t the same as worthless’


The Dreaming is part of a storied history in comics.

If you like anthropomorphic personifications of states of being, you’re in for a treat. Back in the nineties, Neil Gaiman put in some seminal work on The Sandman for Vertigo Comics. He took the Golden Age Sandman, a crime fighter with a sleeping gas gun, and turned him into a god; Morpheus, the lord of The Dreaming. Many accolades were won. Vertigo decided to reach back into that magnificent universe and publish four tales from inside that creation, giving us another look at Lucifer, Books of Magicand The Dreaming, with House of Whispers being set in the Sandman universe, but being completely original.

Writer Simon Spurrier deftly weaves the story in a subtle nod to Gaiman, but one wholly of his own imagining, while illustrative genius Bilquis Evely fills pages with insanely detailed drawings, both vivacious and forlorn, colorist Mat Lopes brings those drawing even further to life with a moody palette, interspersed with explosions of magical color, and letterer Simon Bowland does a superb job of making the reader flow with the comic’s pacing, as well as beautifully hit character inflections.

Vertigo Comics

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Self-worth, revenge, and the birth of a god

Last issue, Dora bailed on Lucien in between dimensions to go retrieve what she thought were her missing memories, disguised as odd gifts, back in The Dreaming. In a couple of lovely nine-panel pages it is revealed that Judge Gallows destroyed her house and all the gifts contained therein, that Cain has once again killed Abel, and that Dora is afraid of being judged as empty and worthless, which is something most people can sympathize with. On her way to the Judge, Dora defeats his cronies, but the Judge has left to witness the birth of the new Endless that has been gestating. Marv Pumpkinhead and Dora make up, and Dora learns that Marv the one making her gifts every day, on orders from Morpheus. The gifts were to remind her that one can love things, despite their flaws, and this greatly inspires Dora. Once again, the art and nine-panel decisions are absolutely fantastic.

Vertigo Comics

Unnatural insane god-beings can’t be all bad, right?

Dora continues to seek out Judge Gallows for retribution. Cain brings Abel’s body to the singularity, the unusual object outside the palace of The Dreaming, and seeks to offer a blood sacrifice to the new Endless in hopes that he will be the favored child, instead of his brother. Cain is killed by Abel instead, for possibly the first time ever (Cain and Abel are the oldest story, continually murdering and being murdered, and doomed to repeat it forever), the singularity explodes open, and Judge Gallows shows up to force control over whatever it is that emerges.

Dora shows up just in time to rally everyone in The Dreaming together against the Judge, and they fight, in several magnificent pages, full of crazed action and mystical danger, the art from Evely once again shining brightly. Dora tells the singularity that Gallows isn’t real, and the singularity disappears him instantly, in a nice callback to when Dora thought she herself wasn’t real.

Next. Wyrd No. 1: Evil super-soldiers and unbreakable men!. dark

The new Endless denies that it is, in fact, an Endless, and decides to appear as a gigantic silk moth with a creepy child’s head, informing everyone that “I think I’m an artificial intelligence…I’m afraid I’ve accidentally assumed control of this realm..and it is entirely likely I am insane.” Completely unexpected. There’s no telling where Spurrier will take the story from here, but be assured it’s one you want to pay attention to. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.