This is a review of Sandman Deluxe Edition Book Three. You can read my reviews of the first and second volumes here and here. This is the midpoint of the Sandman series; it’s all downhill from here. The first storyline, A Game of You, deconstructs the chosen one storyline in fantasy stories. Barbie, a minor character in A Doll’s House, is a princess who visits The Land in her dreams. She is a visitor and not a resident, which turns out to be important.
In her waking hours, Barbie lives in an apartment complex in New York City that must be rent controlled. I say this because Barbie has no visible means of support except alimony checks from her ex. The shit hits the fan when Barbie’s loyal retainer from the Land – an enormous talking dog named Martin Tenbones – is shot down in the streets by the police while attempting to retrieve her, a not-so-subtle foreshadowing of the carnage to follow.
The Land is being threatened by a cuckoo, a diabolical bird that lays its egg in other bird’s nests. When the baby cuckoo hatches, it shoves the other hatchlings out of the nest where they die of starvation while the mother bird ignores them and feeds the intruder. Dream isn’t in this one much. He shows up at the end, to put a bow on things.
Brief Lives, the second storyline, involves Dream and his sister Delirium’s search for their estranged brother, Destruction. This is the longest storyline so far, or at least it feels like it. Their search takes them to a goddess working at a strip club; to the dreams of the cat goddess Bast; to Dream’s estranged son, Orpheus. This is the storyline that marks the beginning of the end, as Destruction is apply named.
I don’t quite understand Dream’s motivations in this one, as he seems aware of the potential consequences of his actions. Their path to Destruction is littered with the bodies of Destruction’s friends and lovers, which causes Dream to temporarily abandon his quest, but he resumes it and finds what he’s looking for, and I don’t know why.