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"Imperfect Hosts": At the House of Mystery, Cain gives his brother Abel a gift. Before he can open it however, there is a knock at the door. It is Cain's pet gargoyle Gregory holding the weakened Dream Lord Morpheus aloft by his

Quote1.png It was a dark and stormy nightmare... Quote2.png

Sandman (Volume 2) #2 is an issue of the series Sandman (Volume 2) with a cover date of February, 1989.

Synopsis for "Imperfect Hosts"

At the House of Mystery, Cain gives his brother Abel a gift. Before he can open it however, there is a knock at the door. It is Cain's pet gargoyle Gregory holding the weakened Dream Lord Morpheus aloft by his robes. Cain and Abel bring him inside and set Morpheus down. Dream asks them for their letters of conscription. The papers that bear his signature provide just enough power to give Dream a bit more strength. His vitality improves enough so that he can send his essence into the Dreamworld.

Meanwhile, ninety-year-old Ethel Dee visits Arkham Asylum in Gotham County. She speaks with psychiatrist Doctor Roger Huntoon regarding her son, John. John is the super-villain known as Doctor Destiny. Huntoon reluctantly allows her to visit John. Dee is in a terrible physical and mental state. He tells his mother that they "took his dreams" away from him.

In the Dreamworld, Morpheus journeys beyond the Gates of Horn and Ivory to the steps of his castle. The castle has fallen into a state of severe dilapidation since he's been gone. Lucien the librarian comes out and tells Morpheus about what has been going on in the Dreaming since he's been away.

At the House of Mystery, Abel finally opens his gift and discovers that it is a gargoyle egg. The egg hatches and a baby gargoyle spills out. Abel wants to name it Irving after an old friend of his, but Cain won't hear of it. He reminds him that all gargoyle names begin with the letter "G". He becomes so irate with his brother that he kills him, which is not an uncommon circumstance as Cain often kills his brother merely for the sport of it. Like Cain, Abel is immortal, and always regenerates. As Abel finally pulls himself back together, he consents to Cain's will and gives the gargoyle a proper name – Goldie.

Back in the Dreamworld, Morpheus visits the three witches known as the Hecateae. He needs information regarding his tools of office. The witches tell him that each one of them will answer one question, but only one per witch. These are the rules. Dream asks his questions, but the Hecateae deliberately give him misleading answers. However, he does discover where his articles may be found. His pouch of sand was last seen in the hands of a hedge mage named John Constantine. His helm was given to a demon in 1930 by Ruthven Sykes and his ruby was last seen in the presence of a League of Justice. Dream thanks these "weird sisters" and goes off to reclaim his belongings, deciding to start with Constantine.

Appearing in "Imperfect Hosts"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




  • None


  • First appearance of the Fashion Thing, another resident of the Dreaming. Like most beings who inhabit the Dreaming, the Fashion Thing goes by many different names. Her character is expanded upon in later issues.
  • Blue Beetle, Fire and Guy Gardner of the Justice League make a cameo flashback appearance on the front page of a newspaper.
  • First Post-Crisis appearance of Doctor Destiny. Doctor Destiny's physical appearance is radically different in this issue from how he has been presented in earlier stories, though his history with the Justice League remains intact. In Pre-Crisis continuity, Destiny was always represented as a normal adult male with striking features. In this issue, he is shown to be a stooped, emaciated grotesque being with withering hair and crooked teeth. Doctor Destiny's mother appears in this issue addressed as Ethel Dee. This is actually Ethel Cripps who was shown to have stolen the Dreamstone from Ruthven Sykes in the 1936 flashback from issue #1. This issue establishes that Morpheus' Dreamstone is analogous to Doctor Destiny's Materioptikon.
  • Ruthven Sykes appears in a flashback to events that took place in 1930 in issue #1. The demon Choronzon makes a behind-the-scenes appearance in this flashback. Choronzon will be revealed as the demon who bartered for Dream's Helm in issue #4.
  • Gregory the Gargoyle is Cain's pet at the House of Mystery and was a regularly featured character in that title.
  • John Constantine makes a cameo appearance in this issue. He is seen next in issue #3.


  • Dream's quote, "It was a dark and stormy nightmare..." is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the phrase "It was a dark and stormy night". The phrase was originally penned by Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton as the beginning of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford.
  • This issue establishes the caveat that all gargoyle names must begin with the letter "G".
  • This is the first time that the Three Witches are presented as an interchangeable single entity; The Three-in-One. In previous appearances, they have always been presented as separate individuals.
  • Abel is seen crawling out of his own portrait in this issue.

See Also

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