Avri Klemer
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[Sandman] April reread - Season of Mists - THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
Original proposal.

For me this is where it all began, back in 1992. This collection is undoubtedly to blame for many of my life and career choices over the past 20 years . . .

The Season of Mists collection covers issues 21 through 28.
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Erik D
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Just read the first two issues. Between the prologue and Dream's speech to his minions in the second issue, it's almost as if Gaiman himself wants people to start reading the series from this point.
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D. Watson
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Read this over the weekend in one sitting. Will probably read it again this month. Still the best of Sandman. I noticed for the first time, that there are so many dieties trying to get hell, and we are shown just a few. When the dieties are being served, they are being served by sleeping humans. Do we see these humans ever again in the series or are they just background people?

One of my favorite parts:

Breschu: I am Breschu (edit for spelling later), I...
Lucifer: Yes, yes. You killed a bunch of people who would be dead by now.

Gaiman really makes Thor look like a dick in this too.
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Erik D
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The issue about the boy in the boarding school when the dead come back? Yeah, that still stops the story dead in its tracks. The one-offs in the series are usually quite good, but this one not so much. There are great ideas in there to be sure, but not much more.
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Avri Klemer
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Issue # 21, A Prologue

Perhaps some of it is nostalgia, but I adore the illustrated text (as opposed to the sequential art of the rest of the book) that introduces us to (most of) The Endless. I am more convinced than ever that Season of Mists is the "correct" place to start reading The Sandman - not least because of all of the people dropping the book in the first read thread after starting with Prologues and Nocturnes!

Here we encounter the concept of The Endless as "ideas cloacked in the semblence of flesh" and meet Delirium for the first time. I love the social commentary that "Delirium was once Delight." Deep . . .

We are also told explicitly in this section that Dream broods on mortality, while setting up a beautiful spin off tale. Dream is described as responsible and meticulous, which is a nice juxtaposition from the way we tend to think of dreams and dreaming. Likewise, we don't tend to think of death as quirky and fun . . .

The Furies are here yet again - this time called The Grey Ladies, Trioditis, The Fates - and we get some more teasing about the missing sibling. I'm pretty sure that this was around the time my friends and I started trying to guess the identity. I don't think we ever figured it out . . .

I was studying Philosophy at the time I was reading these issues, and the stuff in Destiny's garden about free will tickles me - "That will not happen yet." The meeting is to "spark a chain of events causing much pain and upheaval", raising the question whether Dream's demise is at least fated (Fated?) if not actively chosen?

Dream is going to Hell knowing full well that death is a possibility - if not strictly suicidal, he is in no way avoiding death . . .
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Chris Long
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You know, like, for realsies.
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Vaughn had always been a good student, but now it seemed as though he mastered his lessons too quickly.
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nycavri wrote:
I was studying Philosophy at the time I was reading these issues, and the stuff in Destiny's garden about free will tickles me - "That will not happen yet." The meeting is to "spark a chain of events causing much pain and upheaval", raising the question whether Dream's demise is at least fated (Fated?) if not actively chosen?


I've always thought of destiny (small d) as future events that are going to happen, even though they haven't yet. Almost as if there is no way to avoid them.

By contrast, Destiny the character has always struck me more like a person outside of time, not unlike Doctor Manhattan. He sees the entire time-stream in front of him, and already knows what will happen, because for him the future and present is one in the same.

In the first case, the future hasn't happened yet, but some choices are outside of your control. In the second, you have free will to do whatever you like, it's just that Destiny already knows what it will be. Anyway, that's why I've always felt like the choices Dream makes in this story were his own, and not some larger grand plan. Does that make sense?

nycavri wrote:
Dream is going to Hell knowing full well that death is a possibility - if not strictly suicidal, he is in no way avoiding death . . .


This, to me, just reinforces my thoughts from an earlier thread where I suggested that he wasn't committing suicide, but rather that he just refused to compromise, regardless of the consequences. We see that part of his personality very clearly here. He knows the dangers but he will not back down from the choices he makes.
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 22, Episode 1

It's the small details. I love Lucien and his library. I recall wanting to read Tolkien's "The Lost Road", enjoy the nod to those who are paying attention with Fry's unwritten novel, appreciate the meta-irony of a Drood sequel . . .

Is Dream's line, "I may be away for quite a while" an intentional echo of Scott? It is followed by the first indication that we are given that Morpheus himself is not Endless, that he can in some way be replace. (Although, I guess this was already implied in the Delight/Delirium revelation . . .)

Dream does not ever have many friends, but few good relationships be has are strong ones - we have already seen his realistic interactions with his older sister, now we see the continuation of his friendship with Hob (Dream goes out of his way to do something nice for him), and the seeds of the wonderful relationship between Matthew and his "Boss".

I wonder if first time readers note that Dream gives Daniel a D name. I'm pretty sure I noticed at the time, if only because we were kicking D words around trying to figure out the missing Endless, but obviously we had no idea how important Daniel would turn out to be . . .

I'll be honest, it does appear at this point that Dream is more fatalistic than suicidal:

Quote:
We do what we must, Lucien. Sometimes we can choose the path we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all.


Wondering now what it is I see later on (in The Kindly Ones?) that makes me so convinced it is intent, not acceptance.

And I had forgotten that for a few years in there, I used to use Hob's toast that gives the arc its name:

Quote:
To absent friends, lost loves, old gods and the Season of Mists.


It was after I stopped toasting "To Ollie Reed" and before I began toasting "To the next drink . . . "
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 23, Episode 2

Anyone else think "We do as we must" should be on Dream's heastone?

And I guess I forgot how straight up *dumb* he can be! He comes off here like Gene Hackman at the end of The Birdcage:

- "I don't understand."
- "What's Happening?"

I never loved the art depicting Lucifer and now, having watched one of my favorite artists (Peter Gross) work on him for years, it really doesn't ring true for me. Lucifer mentioning he might take up the piano made me smile . . .

That said, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the design of the Key to Hell -the girl who introduced me to The Sandman and to comics in general had a metal reproduction up on her wall . . .

Interesting take on the nature of punishment and retribution on multiple levels - on both large scale (Heaven and Hell) and personal (Dream and Nada, Lucifer and Dream). Lucifer even touches on the glacial but real nature of change in Immortals / The Endless.

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Avri Klemer
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Issue 24, Episode 3

I really enjoy the gods of Order represented by a cardboard box and the gods of Chaos represented by a little clown child. And especially the Brian Blessed inspired Thor.

Death as played by Tim Curry, however, not so much . . .

Does anyone else hear the Monty Python undertones in Azazael's rabble rousing speech? No? Just me? Never mind then . . .
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 25, Episode 4

I know erak disagrees, but I love the Dead Boy Detectives. This issue is a return to the roots of the seriues as a horror comic, creepy and beautifully crafted. We see the larger consequences of Lucifer emtying Hell in a series of little, personal stories - the Nurse, the Mstron, the Headmaster, and the schoolboys themselves.

This issue is worth the cover price just for the couple of panels showing an overworked Death needing to don leggings and sweatband - full jogging gear - to try to keep pace with events!

Dead Boy Detectives was another spin off series that I really enjoyed.
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D. Watson
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nycavri wrote:
Issue 25, Episode 4


This issue is worth the cover price just for the couple of panels showing an overworked Death needing to don leggings and sweatband - full jogging gear - to try to keep pace with events!


Wow, never picked up on that. I knew she was hustling along, but... wow. Good insight.
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 26, Episode 5

I found it interesting to rediscover the things that the various pantheons believe may entice Dream into giving uyp the Key to Hell. Nada is the obvious frontrunner, but there are other intriguing and powerful incentives.

The small, offhanded display of the extent of Dream's power (at least within The Dreaming) is important - he negates a thunderstorm created by Thor (a Storm God, remember) without fuss or exertion, without in fact even being physically present.

Azazael clearly doesn't get the memo . . .
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 27, Episode 6

Some first time readers described this payoff as obvious or a cop out, but I know it was a surprise the first time I read it, and satisfying enough. I like Remiel's correcting himself from "We" to "I", much as Lucifer did a few issues earlier.

As foreshadowed with Thor's thunderstorm, Dream dispatches an overconfident Azazael with ridiculous ease, then dispatches his bottle prison in a pile of junk. The pile includes nods to earlier scenes (The Corinthian's skull) and future issues (Baghdad in a bottle as explored in issue 50). So much to play with, to catch the second or third or eighth time though . . .

The back end of this issue, of this storyline, shows that other than the Demons, Dream appears universally respected by the immortal types. He is seen to relate much better to them than to any human we have seen him interact with (even his touch of friendship in dreams with Hob had a formality that seems more natuaral when dealing with the supernatural.)
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Avri Klemer
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Issue 28, Episode Infinity

And here again is Dream unable to interact naturally with humanity - this time Nada. His reactions do look very familiar, however, nervous and fidgeting waiting for his date, checking out the time (in this case an hour glass). And when she finally shows up, he is as bumbling as Hugh Grant, though not nearly so charming . . .

And speaking of unrequited love, here's the first *real* appearance of Nuala. I love her story arc, from beautiful Fairy nobility to plain servant to (perhaps) friend.

I find the timing of Dream's intervention on behalf of Loki interesting. It occurs immeduiately after he reiterates that he cannot give up being Dream. He then puts Loki in his debt, and takes him "off camera" to discuss that debt. An important link in the chain that leads to Dream's death?

Season of Mists doesn't have the same power, the same impact on me that it has had in the past, in part perhaps because it is the book I have read /am more familiar with more than any other. There are moments and beats and characters and lines that I adore, but the story is somehow smaller than I recall. It does make me more excited for the rest of the larger story, parts of which I have only read once or twice.

Who's still with me?
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D. Watson
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I completely agree. I have read these issues more than any of the series (except for the intro of Hob). Doesn't have the same impact that it used to... but still the best storytelling. The bribery, the lies, the promises... it's all great stuff. And Neil nails the characteristics of all the dieties.
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