4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
A being that has existed since the beginning of the universe, Morpheus rules over the realm of dreams. In THE DOLL’S HOUSE, after a decades-long imprisonment, the Sandman has returned to find that a few dreams and nightmares have escaped to reality. Looking to recapture his lost possessions, Morpheus ventures to the human plane only to learn that a woman named Rose Walker has inadvertently become a dream vortex and threatens to rip apart his world. Now as Morpheus takes on the last escaped nightmare at a serial killers convention, the Lord of Dreams must mercilessly murder Rose or risk the destruction of his entire kingdom.
See my previous review for Sandman Volume I here.
Wow, all I can say is that this is creepy! The Doll’s House is every horror genre’s favorite trope. We are just doll’s in the game of life, we are puppets to something larger than ourselves, or perhaps, we are the ones that control the puppets of our dreams or desires. It’s very meta.
The Doll’s House, Volume II of the Sandman series mostly follows a woman named Rose, the granddaughter of Unity Kincaid (a sleeping sickness character in Volume I). Unity was supposed to be a Dream Vortex in her own time, but the problem was given to her granddaughter because of some meddling siblings (Desire & Delirium) of Morpheus, aka Sandman. This causes all sorts of issues for Rose as she searches for her long lost brother, Jed, who has been living in a basement like an animal for many years. Jed was being held by two nightmare creatures created by Morpheus, Brute and Glob, who were using his mind to create a dream maze.
Morpheus is searching for those nightmares, as well as other nightmares, The Corinthian and Fiddler’s Green, because they escaped from dreamworld into the real world while Morpheus was captured in book one.
The main climax comes to a hilt at a convention of serial killers, taking place in a small town. Rose is at the hotel because she’s waiting for the police to find her missing brother. She’s there with her roommate, Gilbert, who happens to be one of Morpheus’ dream creations, Fiddler’s Green (though he is too nice to really be a nightmare). The convention’s guest of honor is The Corinthian, a creature with teeth for eyes (and who eats eyes).
Rose is determined to find her brother. It’s only after Morpheus saves her at a serial killer convention, that we really see the power a Dream Vortex has and its affect on the dreams of everyone because she’s unable to sleep afterwards and she can be conscious of other’s dreams when she does finally fall asleep.
It was important for me to rehash the plot because SO MUCH was happening. It took me a while to understand that The Corinthian was a creation of Sandman, though it’s laid out in the first few issues that the whole Volume is Sandman corralling his creations (or destroying them). The personification of nightmares is terrifying. Gaiman is probably thinking, “what’s the best way to scare the pants off of readers…make their nightmares come true!” Like Freddy Kreuger, your dreams become realities and the walls between the two become more more frightening. It’s easy to imagine some graphic details that may emerge from a serial killer convention, so I won’t go into it, but that is why this comic is in the horror genre. Sandman/Morpheus/Dream has a very interesting job in keeping order over the dream world. He especially has to fix all the problems that have arisen after being captured for 70 years. I’m looking forward to reading more of this series because I can see how it can expand to different parts of this Sandman universe.