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  • Writer's pictureLinda Thackeray

The Sandman - Issue 3 - Dream a Little Dream of Me

RECAP: Dream a Little Dream of Me accomplishes two things - it expands the waking world of The Sandman while at the same time introducing readers to John Constantine. I admit I had no idea who this character was before the issue. Glad to say my collection of Hellblazer comics has since rectified this.

As revealed in the last issue of Sandman, Dream has been given clues to the whereabouts of his tools, one of which is in the hands of John Constantine. In this issue, we learn the answer to the question the Furies did not answer, “He has it still?’

While the cold opening of the previous issues was like the prologue of a gothic mystery novel, the opening page of this story reveals the horror to come immediately. You don’t know who ‘she is’ yet, but you suspect right from the bat it will be a gut punch when you do.

We then move on to John Constantine and get a view of his life, outlining him enough so that we get that John’s a pretty interesting character in his own right. Throughout the issue, we’re given little easter eggs of John’s adventures, including a mention of ‘The Big Green Bloke’ aka Swamp Thing. Also introduced in this issue is Mad Hettie, an apparently long-lived bag lady who wanders about London and is one of The Sandman’s recurring players throughout the series.

Those familiar with the Netflix version of the episode will find the episode rather tame to what is shown in this comic. The power of the pouch is on full display here. The haunting attraction of staying lost in dreams and the devastating consequences of lingering too long in them. It gives us an understanding of why humans should never gain access to Morpheus’ tools. Considering how badly it will warp John Dee, the fate of Rachel in this story is an unsettling preview.

Morpheus and John’s search eventually leads them to Rachel, John’s former girlfriend, and a junkie. Once again, the comic version of this meeting is far more grisly than the one on Netflix. We find that unchecked dreams can be ravenous, and I’m almost grateful that we didn’t see the fate of Rachel’s father in live action. Even John falls prey to them until Morpheus’s timely rescue.

Throughout the issue, we learn a little about Rachel and how deeply John cared for her, so by the time we get the full-page view of what’s left of her, we share John’s horror. I’m lucky enough to know nothing about drug addiction, but if this was an allegory, I can’t imagine what people with family members or loved ones in this condition must suffer. Rachel’s appearance might be extreme, but I suspect Sam Keith’s art came from a real place. Sam conveys Rachel’s luminous personality in the photograph John remembers. It makes finding her even worse.

This is also the first time we see Morpheus’s disconnection from humanity. At this point, the shepherd of dreams has little connection to the minds he rules. With pouch in hand, Morpheus is prepared to leave Rachel in her condition until John calls him out on it. This is the first real instance of Morpheus’s evolving empathy for humans. He gives Rachel a happy dream to end her tortured life and helps John with his recurring nightmares.

The issue ends with Morpheus getting ready to find the next lost tool, a certain helm, and me remembering I had to go to the comic store to buy every back issue of Hellblazer.

So that’s Dream a Little Dream of Me. Next time, we go to hell.

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