It’s been six months since the last installment in this graphic novel arc. But, as is always the case with Sandman, it was well worth the wait. In this issue, Dream is trapped in a black hole and reunited with his mother, Night. Dream declines his mother’s offer to take a place in her realm and is returned to the black hole. He is then summoned by Destiny, his brother, to explain the existence of a mysterious ship that is not a part of the Book of Destiny. It is revealed that the ship is a haven for saved souls.
This is a graphic novel par excellence. Gaiman is a master wordsmith and his words, accompanied by the stunning artwork of JH Williams III, weave a tale that is inspiring, thought-provoking, surreal, and mystical. After finishing this issue, I feel like I was transported into another universe and have just returned with knowledge that is beyond my ability to express to another soul.
The only justice I can do as a review of this masterpiece is to just provide a snippet of text as an example of Gaiman’s incredible skill as a writer.
Destiny sees things as they are, not as we would wish them to be.
He knows there are no stories, only the illusion of stories: threads and patterns that seem to appear in the pages of existence, given meaning and significance by the observer.
Destiny observes worlds and molecules like motes of dust hanging in a sunbeam: every movement, every moment inevitable.
Destiny walks the paths of his garden, a place of forks and of paths which combine and part, seeing only what is.
He is surprised by nothing. There is nothing that can surprise him, nothing that was not already written in his book.
I am in awe of the concept of stories as a series of threads and patterns given form only through interpretation of the reader or listener. The telling a story has no meaning, unless there is someone there to hear the story. It’s almost like the Zen parable of the tree falling in the forest. It is also connected to quantum physics, in my opinion. We know that certain quantum particles only come into existence if there is a conscious being there to perceive them. Likewise, stories are only brought to life if someone is there to hear them.
I think I need to stop writing. I feel myself slipping down the proverbial rabbit hole. I will conclude by saying, if the past is any indicator of the future, we can expect the conclusion of this series in December. I suspect that when the final issue in the arc is released, I will reread all the previous issues and then the final installment. Look for my next Sandman post in about six months.
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