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BOOK REVIEW – NEIL GAIMAN – THE SANDMAN – ENDLESS NIGHTS. 2003 DC Comics

 

A late addition to the fantastic Sandman series. This collection gives one story to each of the Endless, Death, Despair, Dream (The Sandman, Morpheus himself), Destruction, etc.

 

Death’s story features a young boy in Venice, who meets a beautiful woman while she waits for an old gateway to be opened.  The boy tries unsuccessfully to open it, but fails. Years later, on leave as a soldier, he revisits the island and sees Death still sitting there. She steps through with him into the past and reminds an aristocrat and all his guests that they are dead. The soldier, haunted by her beauty, kills people as a sacrifice in her honour.

 

Dream takes a mortal girl to meet the Endless (giving them a cameo in his story too), and while talking with friends, he loses her to the Star representing her own galaxy.  Dream falls out with the other endless for letting her go without warning him of her seduction.

 

Desire exploits a girl’s lust for a man who rejected her for every other lovely lady in her village to bring about the destruction of a group of bandits by preying on their most carnal desires.

 

Destruction features a girl who discovers an archaeological monument from the future, containing relics of terrible weapons that have not yet been invented. The dig is taken over by the military, but everything is destroyed there when they attempt to take control of the discoveries.

 

The other stories are more surreal and strange and haunting – Fifteen Portraits Of despair is a series of poetic images of utter misery and loss of hope.  Destiny closes the book with a reminder that he has control of our own stories, past, present and future.

 

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