The Sandman 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman: B

From the back cover:
Rose Walker finds more than she bargained for in the doll’s house—long lost relatives, a serial killers convention, and, ultimately, her true identity. The master of dreams attempts to unravel the mystery, unaware that the hand of another, far closer to home, is pulling the strings.

There were several things I quite liked in this volume. Two more of Morpheus’s siblings are introduced, and Desire (who can’t be satisfied with just one gender) is a really neat character. I also liked avuncular Gilbert, not a sibling but with mysterious origins of his own, who comes to Rose’s aid and reminded me of Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.

The best part, though, was the chapter called “Men of Good Fortune,” which takes place in the middle of the Doll’s House arc but really doesn’t turn out to have much to do with it. In it, Morpheus and his sister, Death, encounter a man in 1389 who claims that he won’t ever want to succumb to death. And so Death decides not to claim him until he desires it, and Morpheus makes an appointment to visit with him every hundred years, accidentally befriending the fellow along the way. The story is neat, but I also really liked how their surroundings and wardrobes changed each time they met.

On the whole, though, I found this arc pretty damned depressing. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for so much darkness and surrealism. I also feel like there are probably some big, deep themes here that I’m just not getting.

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