The Sandman’s Imprisonment Changed Green Arrow Forever in DC Lore
The DC universe has had crossovers for as long as it’s had a shared universe, but one of the strangest crossovers was when an event in The Sandman almost cost Green Arrow his life and soul, despite the fact those two characters would be the last anyone would think would cross over.
The Green Arrow is Oliver Queen, the vigilante hero of Star City that wants to take down the corrupt rich. Oliver’s mission is trying to make society and the world a better place, which he uses both his wealth and his vigilante skills to achieve. Dream of the Endless on the other hand is one member of a family of endless beings that each have a specific function in nature, such as Death, Destiny, Desire, and so on. Dream is an ageless being that has existed for as long as there was life to dream. The majority of his storylines involve fantasy elements or deep religious themes, such as when Dream faced off against Lucifer Morningstar. With all of this considered it sounds like these two characters would never cross over.
Dream of the Endless has the very important job of making sure everyone is able to dream, but one magus who wanted immortality tried to capture Death of the Endless and ended up capturing her brother Dream instead. For decades and decades, Burgess kept Dream trapped in his basement, trying to bargain with him on how to capture Death or gain immortality, but Dream never spoke to him – as seen in Neil Gaiman and Sam Kieth’s The Sandman #1. Fearing retribution, Burgess simply kept Dream trapped and went about his life, throwing wild parties. It was one of these parties that readers saw in Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s Green Arrow #9, where a man named Stanley gains a book from Burgess’ manor. This book allows Stanley to transfer his soul to any body that doesn’t currently have one, and due to the events of Green Arrow’s death and revival, Oliver at this time just so happened to be a candidate.
Dream’s Imprisonment Had Huge Consequences Across the DC Universe
Stanley only became aware of Burgess because of his famous attempt to « bind the reaper » – the spell which instead trapped Dream in the basement of his mansion. After Green Arrow’s resurrection, he lacked a soul. Since his soul remained in Heaven, this allowed Stanley to possess him, and Stanley made it very clear that once he possessed Green Arrow, he’d use his access to the Justice League Watch Tower to gather more magical artifacts before taking over the world. Thankfully, Stanley was defeated when Oliver’s soul reunited from Heaven with his body – something that only happened because the fallout of the adventure convinced Green Arrow’s spirit he was needed on Earth!
Green Arrow is the definition of a street-level hero, and yet the Endless are intrinsic to the very nature of the universe. Because of this, when The Sandman’s Dream was locked away for decades, the ripples spread out across the galaxy, and almost cost Green Arrow his soul – it’s only thanks to Ollie that a new magical threat didn’t take over the Earth!