International Brotherhood of Dream Janitors
Written By: Simon Spurrier
Illustrated By: Bilquis Evely
Colors By: Mat Lopes
Letters By: Simon Bowland
Cover By: Jae Lee & June Chung
Edited By: Molly Mahan
Associate Editor: Amedeo Turturro
Assistant Editor: Maggie Howell
Executive Editor: Mark Doyle
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: October 3, 2018
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
It’s the second issue of The Dreaming, and I don’t really know all that’s going on. But we’re getting to finding out! Let’s see what we learn in The Dreaming #2, which I’ve reviewed right here!
Anyone that’s had a reasonable amount of responsibility at a job knows what it is to humble yourself before your superiors. It’s part of how the game is played, and depending on the boss in question, your level of obsequiousness may vary. Mervyn the pumpkin-headed dream janitor finds himself in this predicament, petitioning someone that we don’t see until the very end to step in and take control of the Dreaming, because it’s a wreck. How is it a wreck, you ask? Well, just take a look at what Mervyn has had to put up with recently.
For one thing, since Daniel hasn’t been hanging out in the Dreaming so much, more people are experiencing lucid dreams. That makes Mervyn’s life difficult, because every once in a while that dream stuff leaks out into the waking world, and then there’s big problems. Normally, Mervyn and his crew would clean up the mess, but Lucien the librarian has tasked the “blanks”—featureless humanoids that have been popping up in the Dreaming since fissures erupted—with doing the work, and they have proven to be more efficient (and much more quiet.) He also caught Lucien stuffing the Cuckoo, a nightmare creation, into the Black Chest, from whence things do not return. Then, Lucien fires Mervyn’s crew, which is to say he returns them to ethereal dream dust or whatever, which is actually a nice turn considering they were overworked janitors before. Lucien says he’s making these changes in order to “streamline” the Dreaming, but Mervyn ain’t so sure.
And then there’s Dora! Not only does this woman go traipsing through whatever dreams she feels like, gobbling up the conjured food and assorted trinkets, she also had the guff to attack Mervyn after he merely spoke very dismissively of her and tried to forcibly drag her out of a dream! To make matters worse, Mervyn overheard Matthew the raven asking Dora for a favor, and admits out loud that Daniel is lost, and they’d like her to find him. Dora doesn’t think too kindly of Dream, even though she knew the previous Dream, and has no intention of aiding his consorts. But more importantly, Mervyn now knows that Daniel is gone for good, so they must have a new Lord of the Dreaming—and Mervyn has asked Judge Gallows! And he accepted!
For those that don’t know, Judge Quentin Gallows is a crazy judge from the Dreaming, who was making a muck of things on Earth before Dream got him in line. And maybe dismantled him, like he did to the Corinthian? Whatever it was, having this guy in charge is not a good look. I love Mervyn, and I really liked seeing a story from his viewpoint. That being said, it read a little formulaic, with a by-the-numbers approach to revealing the state of the Dreaming. Which was necessary to show, of course, but it felt a little stiff to me. The art part of the book is spectacular, and I expect it will remain that way as long as this art team is entrenched. Plotting is good, sequentials are on point, but the last page reveal will be meaningless to people that are less familiar with Sandman, and I think that’s a problem. They do a decent job showing that Judge Gallows is an asshole, at least.
Bits and Pieces:
Good old Mervyn Pumpkinhead has a problem with management in the Dreaming: there isn't any! So he petitions an old frienemy to clean up these strange streets. Another artistic triumph by Bilquis Evely and co., but the story doesn't flow as neatly as in the first issue. Perhaps that owed to Mervyn's gravelly-voiced narration?