The Sandman: The Kindly Ones

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Dark fantasy

The Kindly Ones (1996) is the ninth collection of issues in the DC Comics series, The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D'Israeli, Teddy Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon, Charles Vess, Dean Ormston and Kevin Nowlan, coloured by Danny Vozzo, and lettered by Todd Klein[1].

The issues in the collection first appeared in 1993, 1994 and 1995. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1996.

Marc Hempel is the primary penciller, inked variously by himself, D'Israeli and Richard Case. He is relieved at different points in the story by Teddy Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon and Dean Ormston, and Charles Vess draws a story-within-a-story sequence. Kevin Nowlan draws a short story which originally appeared in a Vertigo promo book.



The Kindly Ones belongs with the second collection, The Doll's House, and the seventh, Brief Lives, in that it finishes off a story that mostly originated in these collections. Parts from other collections are also important to its story, however, notably elements from Season of Mists and the story of Orpheus, told mostly in Fables and Reflections.

The most structurally ambitious of the collections, The Kindly Ones is a single storyline written as a Greek tragedy, with Morpheus as its doomed hero and an aspect of the triad of witches, the Erinyes, as the Greek chorus. It pulls together various threads left dangling throughout the series, notably the grudges against Morpheus of several characters: Hippolyta Hall, whose child, Daniel, was claimed by Morpheus; the witches themselves; the Norse god Loki; and the witch Thessaly.

The Kindly Ones also continues several other stories, including that of Cluracan of Faerie and his sister Nuala, that of the Corinthian, and that of Rose Walker and her former landlord Hal. It also features Lucifer, now playing piano in a nightclub, although he is loath to take requests.

After Daniel is kidnapped towards the beginning of the story by Loki and Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), Hippolyta (or Lyta), manipulated by Loki into believing he was murdered, convinces herself that Morpheus was responsible due to her brief interactions with him throughout the series. In the midst of an intense breakdown over the loss of her child, Lyta resolves to destroy Morpheus, eventually finding the witches who agree to help her in her goal. In their aspect as the Furies, the witches are empowered to destroy Morpheus by the fact that he has shed the blood of one of his family (that of his son, Orpheus, when he granted him the boon of death). In many places, Lyta is depicted as Medusa, even meeting Medusa's two sisters, Stheno and Euryale, at one point in the story.

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