Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Key To Hell

In Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Season Of Mists (New York, 1992), Lucifer reminisces about falling from Heaven to Hell, as in Paradise Lost, and, because this is a comic strip, we see his fall and arrival. However, he also says that this happened ten billion years ago, thus contradicting both John Milton's Biblical chronology and the idea that this Hell is a specifically human hereafter.

Understandably tired, Lucifer resigns, expels the demons and damned, locks Hell and gives Morpheus the key. Death says that the dead are coming back. I expected this to happen across the DC Universe and it could have included the return of Luthor, then believed to be dead. However, other monthly titles had business as usual and Gaiman showed the dead returning only in an English public school closed for the holidays. Thus, dramatic understatement.

(i) Odin wants Hell as a refuge from Ragnarok and offers Morpheus the Ragnarok replay from Roy Thomas' Last Days Of The Justice Society Of America.

(ii) The Lords of Chaos threaten Morpheus to make him give them Hell.

(iii) The Lords of Order offer him the dream-essences of the newly dead.

(iv) A Japanese god offers to pay any price.

(v) The Egyptian goddess Bast offers to tell him where his missing brother is.

(vi) The demon Azazel offers vengeance on the demon Choronzon and the return of Morpheus' former lover, Nada.

(vii) The fairies offer Nuala and want him to leave Hell empty.

(viii) Two angels observe but intervene when ordered to.

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