The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

Reprints issues 21-28 of the Vertigo DC Comics series; introduces Lucifer and The Endless...

Title:The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1563890356
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:224 pages

The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists Reviews

  • Anthony Chavez
    Nov 01, 2011

    What happens when Lucifer decides to leave hell? Season of Mists, the fourth volume of The Sandman answers that question as Dream heads to Hell once again, this time to release a former lover who has been imprisoned and tortured for thousands of years. Upon arrival, he finds Hell deserted, and Lucifer ushering out the stragglers he has banished from the lands, he then hands dream the key to the kingdom.

    This is the best of the first four volumes in the series, with "A Doll's House" a close secon

    What happens when Lucifer decides to leave hell? Season of Mists, the fourth volume of The Sandman answers that question as Dream heads to Hell once again, this time to release a former lover who has been imprisoned and tortured for thousands of years. Upon arrival, he finds Hell deserted, and Lucifer ushering out the stragglers he has banished from the lands, he then hands dream the key to the kingdom.

    This is the best of the first four volumes in the series, with "A Doll's House" a close second, this should not be missed by fans, nor casual observers.

    Gaiman always adds epic storytelling and mythology in the series and this volume is no exception, Season of Mists takes on a lot: sin, redemption, both personal and religious, and the battle between good and evil. To discuss too much of the plot would ruin some of the rich suprises to come, but Gaiman's inventiveness is to the max here, with a gleefully funny and fascinating scene involving intrigue and lobbying by any number of demons, gods, and demigods, this provides an interesting look at the interactions between them (Thor getting ridiculously drunk and hitting on women during the banquet, for example). There is also a great ghost story set in a boys school that's not really like any haunted house tale you've ever read. But in the midst of his epic scope, Gaiman never neglects the smaller and more intimate touches, and scenes involving nothing more than an unlikely character commenting on a sunset or an unexpected birth revealing unexpected depths and complexities to Gaiman's creations. The character of Lucifer is excellent and intriguing as well, and God's reward to the two angels who oversaw Dreams decision? Well, that's up to the reader to decide. It's become apparent just a little ways into the volume that Gaiman has constructed something akin to a new cosmology and mythology here, and while it's wonderful to get lost in his worlds, it's the surprisingly human characters that keep us enthralled and reading volume after volume.

  • Brad
    Mar 25, 2013

    Now the good stuff really gets started.

    Introducing most of the Eternals, we discover intrigue with Destiny, some deep sadness in Delirium, friendship in Death, capriciousness in Desire, and maybe a bit of reasonableness in Despair. Dream is there, of course, and he's rightly annoyed with his siblings.

    He is, after all, the one who had perpetrated a great crime. Who are they to taunt him?

    Ah, Nada. Such a tragic figure.

    And she's only a plot hook!

    Oh Hell... I'm not going to spoil Hell, but Dream goe

    Now the good stuff really gets started.

    Introducing most of the Eternals, we discover intrigue with Destiny, some deep sadness in Delirium, friendship in Death, capriciousness in Desire, and maybe a bit of reasonableness in Despair. Dream is there, of course, and he's rightly annoyed with his siblings.

    He is, after all, the one who had perpetrated a great crime. Who are they to taunt him?

    Ah, Nada. Such a tragic figure.

    And she's only a plot hook!

    Oh Hell... I'm not going to spoil Hell, but Dream goes back to right his great wrong.

    I was so surprised with the outcome. Delighted. Flabbergasted. The implications were enormous and made me giddy with anticipation.

    If the Eternals weren't enough to make things interesting, we also get the Aesir, Angels, Chaos, Chinese Gods, Devils, Fae, and Order knocking on Dream's door to threaten, bribe, plead. So totally delicious.

    I read American Gods before Sandman, so I was grooving to this tune and this twist in a big way. Hell, this Volume epitomizes everything I love about the Sandman Series. When it thinks big, it thinks BIG. Let's not piddle around the the little crap, shall we? Let's move Heaven and Earth.

    Woo! Woo! If only all comics could get this grandiose! (Of course, I later learned that some could get pretty close, but this is my first taste of something really good.)

  • Algernon
    Jun 03, 2013

    The speech of Lucifer Morningstar on giving up his responsibilities in Hell would be good enough to justify the five stars review, but there is a lot more to like in this new book of the Sandman comic. Like the old fashioned chapter headings, teasers of events to come and plot twists to discover:

    issue 21 :

    The prologue brin

    The speech of Lucifer Morningstar on giving up his responsibilities in Hell would be good enough to justify the five stars review, but there is a lot more to like in this new book of the Sandman comic. Like the old fashioned chapter headings, teasers of events to come and plot twists to discover:

    issue 21 :

    The prologue brings together for the first time the Sandman's family, at the behest of the Fates (The Maid / Mother / Crone triumvirate we have already met):

    is the oldest of the Endless; he sees the fine traceries the galaxies make as they spiral through the void, he watches the intricate patterns living things make on their journey through time. Destiny smells of dust and the libraries of night.

    He leaves no footprints.

    He casts no shadow.

    Never a possession, always the possessor, with skin as pale as smoke, and eyes tawny and sharp like yellow wine: Desire is everything you ever wanted. Whoever you are. Whatever you are. Everything.

    It is said that scattered through

    domain are a multitude of tiny windows, hanging in the void. Each window looks out on a different scene, being, in our world, a mirror. Sometimes you will look into a mirror and feel the eyes of

    upon you, feel her hook catch and snag on your heart.

    is the youngest of the Endless. She smells of sweat, sour wines, late nights, old leather.

    is rake-thin, with skin the colour of falling snow. He acumulates names to himself like others make friends; but he permits himself few friends.

    There is a tale that one day in every century

    takes on mortal flesh, better to comprehend what the lives she takes must feel like, to taste the bitter tang of mortality; that this is the price she must pay for being the divider of the living from all that has gone before, all that must come after.

    The seventh Endless is lost, or playing truant, but that's a tale for another time. For now, Dream has to return to Hell and claim back, Nada, the mortal he sent there after she refused his love.

    issue 22:

    The Sandman says good bye to his friends, he knows he may not return from the place he was warned off in an earlier issue. He also makes preparations for his succession: a child born in the realm of dreams is offered as a possible solution. Hob Gadling, one of the few mortal friends of the Sandman makes a cameo appearance and a toast:

    My favorite panels in this issue are about The Library od Dreams, a place similar in a way to Jasper Fforde's Well of Lost Plots or to Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I hope I will see more of it in future issues.

    issue 23:

    This is probably the best single issue in the series so far. It looks at the realm of hell as the shadow of Heaven,

    I'll quote his rant in full, because it is too good to miss or truncate:

    Lucifer has had enough, he quits, empties Hell of all its inhabitants, locks out the realm and leaves Morpheus to sort out the mess.

    I'll stop now with the chapter headings and with the detailed synopsis, after all, it would not do to spoil all the plot points. Suffice to say that Morpheus has a hot potato in his hands and must pass on the responsibilities for managing Hell before the demons and the dead returning to life invade the other realms. He will host a banquet in the Dreaming for all the parties interested - mythical creatures from all ages and cultures (Faerie, Valhalla, Egypt, the Roman Empire, angels, demons, oriental heroes, chaos and order avatars). He will be offered bribes and blackmail and he will have to fight to impose his will on this unruly crowd.

    Great stuff with a dose of black humor to temper the horror parts, capital writing, decent graphics that may be sometimes a letdown for me, but are easy to ignore as I follow the story.

    Onward to book five.

  • Alejandro
    Nov 03, 2013

    Writer: Neil Gaiman

    Illustrators: Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt & P. Craig Russell

    Covers: Dave McKean

    Letterer: Todd Klein

    Yet another impressive introduction to the TPB by Harlan Ellison, denoting again that

    is something else in the middle of the genre of comic books.

    Writer: Neil Gaiman

    Illustrators: Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt & P. Craig Russell

    Covers: Dave McKean

    Letterer: Todd Klein

    Yet another impressive introduction to the TPB by Harlan Ellison, denoting again that

    is something else in the middle of the genre of comic books.

    This volume has an epic beginning with a reunión of the members of the Endless, well all of them except the “prodigal Destruction” who went awol lefting behind his responsibilities.

    This family reunión of the Endless is easily the strongest section of the TPB and a real pleasure to read.

    The rest of the TPB and the main storyline developed in this volume has a wonderful premise but that I humbly think that it wasn’t properly exploited to its full potential.

    Morpheus, the embodiment of Dream committed an injustice long time ago.

    In the volumen

    is told the tragic love story of Queen Nada, a mythical ruler of a vey ancient kingdom, and whose sad tale has been transmitted through generations when men reached maturity age. Nada fell in love with Dream, but loving an Endless member is something... complicated to say the least.

    Morpheus is going to Hell looking for Nada, since he found her there in his previous trip to the Hellish realm while he was looking for his mask to gather all his lost power during his imprisonment by magic.

    Hell is empty. Lucifer quit. Really.

    And now Morpheus is left with the Key to Hell. Literally the key to open or to close, Hell.

    This unprecedent event will provoke an unique gathering of gods and divine envoys of many origins (Norse, Japanese, Egyptian, Christian, etc...) even embodiments of primal forces.

    Everybody wants the Key to Hell and Morpheus is the one who will decide!

    At that point, I was astonished, my mind was in neuronal fireworks!

    The developing of that hallucinative premise was, mmh... how to say it? ... Simple? Lacking of a real challenge to the main character (Morpheus)?

    There were so many possibilities, so many paths to take, a wide open field of odds, and at the end (without spoiling anything) is like... mmh... okay... while more the things change, more remain the same?

    Oh, and in the middle of that, you will find also a cool ghost story happening in a boarding school that I enjoyed a lot.

    So, while it contains incredible cool characters and a smart narrative, I found the ending, weak and unadventurous.

    Certainly I will keep reading this epic run of

    , you can bet on that!

  • Patrick
    Jan 24, 2014

    This is the point in the series where shit gets real.

    For one thing, this is the first glimpse you have of how truly mythically all-encompasing this series is. You have Odin, the Lucifer, some Faeries, Demons, a Japanese storm god, Bast and Anubis, two angelic presences, and other assorted powers all hanging out, not just in the same story. But on the same page.

    And it makes sense. You're left thinking, oh, yeah. Sure. Why wouldn't Thor be hitting on Bast?

    Even more importantly, this is the poin

    This is the point in the series where shit gets real.

    For one thing, this is the first glimpse you have of how truly mythically all-encompasing this series is. You have Odin, the Lucifer, some Faeries, Demons, a Japanese storm god, Bast and Anubis, two angelic presences, and other assorted powers all hanging out, not just in the same story. But on the same page.

    And it makes sense. You're left thinking, oh, yeah. Sure. Why wouldn't Thor be hitting on Bast?

    Even more importantly, this is the point where, when I first read it, I thought. "Wait. What? Do you mean that all those cool little stand-alone stories *weren't* stand alone stories? Are you telling me that all these tiny stories (which I loved, and would have left me completely blissed and satisfied all by themselves) are actually all part of a bigger story?"

    My mind was blown. And it still kinda is. I'd never seen this done before, and I've never seen it done as well since.

  • Lyn
    Feb 02, 2015

    “So I'm back, to the velvet underground

    Back to the floor, that I love

    To a room with some lace and paper flowers

    Back to the gypsy that I was

    To the gypsy... that I was

    And it all comes down to you

    Well, you know that it does

    Well, lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice

    Ah, and it lights up the night” (Nicks: Welsh Witch Music)

    When I think about Neil Gaiman’s work, it all comes back to

    . This is the book by him that to me is the most identifiable of his canon and the work upon so much

    “So I'm back, to the velvet underground

    Back to the floor, that I love

    To a room with some lace and paper flowers

    Back to the gypsy that I was

    To the gypsy... that I was

    And it all comes down to you

    Well, you know that it does

    Well, lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice

    Ah, and it lights up the night” (Nicks: Welsh Witch Music)

    When I think about Neil Gaiman’s work, it all comes back to

    . This is the book by him that to me is the most identifiable of his canon and the work upon so much other writers have accessed influence. Certainly there have been trans-pantheistic works prior to the 2001 publication of AG, but I think Gaiman put it all together best.

    Season of Mists, the fourth collection in the Sandman graphic novel series was published in 1992 and this must have been on Gaiman’s mind when a few years later he began his seminal work. Sandman readers once again visit Dream in his world and we also see Hell and much chaos and confusion. Odin All-father appears, as do Thor and Loki, but his illustration is very similar to how he would later appear in Gaiman’s 2001 masterpiece.

  • Char
    May 03, 2016

    This is my favorite entry in the Sandman series so far!

    Here we learn a lot-for instance, all the supposed stand alone stories in Sandman 3: The Dream Country, were NOT all stand alones. Some of them do have connections that are referenced here.

    The introduction by the irascible Harlan Ellison was fantastic. I know he's a curmudgeon, but I adore the man. His description of what happened when one of Gaiman's comic book stories won the World Fantasy Award was freaking hilarious.

    I didn't enjoy the

    This is my favorite entry in the Sandman series so far!

    Here we learn a lot-for instance, all the supposed stand alone stories in Sandman 3: The Dream Country, were NOT all stand alones. Some of them do have connections that are referenced here.

    The introduction by the irascible Harlan Ellison was fantastic. I know he's a curmudgeon, but I adore the man. His description of what happened when one of Gaiman's comic book stories won the World Fantasy Award was freaking hilarious.

    I didn't enjoy the artwork in this one as much as I did in previous volumes, but I loved and admired the stories and the writing so much, that I didn't mind. I would have enjoyed these stories with no artwork at all.

    It is now becoming clear to me what an epic undertaking this series must have been. The story arc is HUGE and encompasses so much. We have hell and demons and all kinds of creatures from legends and myths and they're all mashed together in a story that somehow makes sense. It's truly impressive and I can't wait to continue on with this series.

    Highly recommended to fans of fantasy, Neil Gaiman and graphic novels.

  • Bill  Kerwin
    Aug 26, 2016

    Neil Gaiman is at his best when his imagination is peopled with gods and demons—magnificent, outsize personalities, ranging from the eerily transcendent to the surprisingly human—and the tale he chooses to tell in “Season of Mists” gives him ample room to create a godly and superior fantasy.

    The plot is simple. Lucifer abdicates Hell, sending the damned back to earth, and turned the keys over to Dream. Dream doesn’t really want the property—too vast, too hard to keep up—but a lot if other beings

    Neil Gaiman is at his best when his imagination is peopled with gods and demons—magnificent, outsize personalities, ranging from the eerily transcendent to the surprisingly human—and the tale he chooses to tell in “Season of Mists” gives him ample room to create a godly and superior fantasy.

    The plot is simple. Lucifer abdicates Hell, sending the damned back to earth, and turned the keys over to Dream. Dream doesn’t really want the property—too vast, too hard to keep up—but a lot if other beings do, including demons, angels, fairies, and (yes, of course) gods): Odin, Thor, Loki, Anubis, Bes, Bast, the Shinto storm god Susano-o-no-Mikoto, and the personifications of Order (a cardboard box carried by a genie) and Chaos (a little girl dressed like a clown). The delightful center of the tale is a grand banquet in the house of Dream, where these beings offer their bids and bribes for the prize of an empty Hell. One of these offers interests Dream greatly: a chance to rescue his lover Queen Nada from the consequences of his youthful anger.

    The central story is handled expertly, and the major digression—about dead schoolboys and masters returning to their boarding school during vacation—is very good too.

    Gaiman's inspiration for

    was a remark of Jesuit theologian and anthropologist Teilhard de Chardin: “You have told me, O God, to believe in hell. But you have forbidden me to think...of any man as damned.” An easily resolved paradox, Gaiman thought to himself, provided you empty Hell. The title is derived from Keat’s “Autumn”: “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Although the association of “mellow fruitfulness” with Hell may seem ironic, I believe its message is straightforward. In

    , Dream does become more "mellow'" dying to unwelcome burdens and ancient rages, and gaining the fruits—a small portion, at least—of peace, reconciliation and love.

    Finally, I would like to share with you my favorite part of

    . Isn’t it funny how often a minor character can fascinate you so much he almost blots out the rest? For me, that character is Breschau of Livonia. This imaginary Eastern European noble (I know he’s imaginary, having looked him up in vain) proudly insists he remain in Hell because of the enormity of his deeds, which he relates in detail, proclaiming “I am Breschau of Livonia.” Lucifer dismisses him with these words: “But no one today remembers Breschau. No one. I doubt one living mortal in a hundred thousand could even point to where Livonia used to be, on a map. The world has forgotten you.”

    Not I, Lord Breschau, not I.


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