This week the latest chapter of The Sandman Universe kicked off with The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 by writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Nick Robles. In a magical first installment, Waking Hours revealed its central conceit by showing us an exhausted Shakespearean scholar trapped in a lucid dream of her own making, a mediocre nightmare called Ruin who demanded a way out of The Dreaming, and what happens when the two of them swap places.
All of that, plus plenty of Shakespeare reference and a visit from Dream himself, made for a gripping lead-in to the series. Now, SYFY WIRE is pleased to reveal an exclusive look at the second issue of the series, in which the nightmare called Ruin goes in search of a solution to his very urgent problem.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 ahead.**
Like many of the best Sandman stories, The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 set the stage for the saga to come by revealing just enough beyond the main thrust of the plot to let us know that there's a lot going on in this story. The key event of the issue is, of course, the moment when Ruin and Lindy swap places in her dream, leaving her trapped in a warped version of Shakespeare's home full of all the potential candidates of Shakespearean authory theory and leaving him in the waking world with her newborn baby in tow. Even beyond that, though, there's a great deal happening here.
Wilson and Robles establish that Ruin wanted desperately to escape The Dreaming, but they don't tell us why. They establish that Ruin's only point of contact in the waking world is Jophiel, a former resident of The Dreaming who is none too happy to see his former nightmare enemy, but they don't tell us their history. They establish that Dream himself is not just aware of Ruin's escape, but aware that someone or something helped Ruin to get loose. There's a lot of very fertile ground there, and that's not even counting the various Shakespearean figures wandering around Lindy's lucid dream.
In the preview pages below, we get a little glimpse of what happens next, as Ruin and Jophiel seek out someone who might be able to help with their little switcheroo problem: Namely, a livestreaming sorceress with a connection to Sandman lore.
So, what else happens beyond Ruin and Jophiel's little quest for magical assistance and baby formula? Let's take a look at the official synopsis for the issue, shall we?
"New mother Lindy is trapped in the Dreaming, and the lovestruck nightmare Ruin is loose in the real world. Dream must put this situation right—but to do so, he’ll have to travel into the Black Chest where he keeps his most dangerous nightmares…and pull the answers right from the mouth of the unimaginable Endless Teeth!"
As you can see, we'll be learning more about what exactly Dream is doing to deal with the problem of Ruin in this issue, but pay attention to another key word in there: "Lovestruck." From the time it was first announced, Waking Hours was billed as the story of a nightmare in love, but the first issue didn't tell us exactly why or how that happened. Soon readers will learn more about Ruin's true motivation, even as his plans are complicated by a need to get Lindy out of her dream, because she can't just hang out with Anne Hathaway and Kit Marlowe forever, or she might just go mad.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2 is in stores September 1.