The Halls of Fate, Part Four
In our last chapter, Hector was subjected to bodysnatching, psychic intervention, ancient wizard dickery, and finally found a long lost someone. In this chapter, we get two reunions, a fight, and a lot of history hopscotching between DC and Vertigo. Twenty-five pages from six issues, spread out over JSA, Infinity Inc., and Sandman.
Also features the second-creepiest panel of Hector ever.
When we last left the crew, the JSA had split up on a rescue mission to save Sand, half deep into the earth to retrieve his physical body, and the other half into the Dreaming to challenge whatever had a hold on his mind. There, we find that Sand's undergone a similar brainwashing to what Hector once suffered, at the hands of two very familiar faces.
And yes, that's exactly what Hector acted like when he was in the red yellow costume.
Oh, right. Sand had a crush on Kendra. She actually kissed him... once... when she was trying to prove to herself that she wasn't Shiera-In-A-New-Body. That didn't exactly go well, since he knew what she was doing and pushed her away, and she ended up with Carter anyway after Sand got trapped in the earth.
::moment of reincarnation-dating-your-wife-in-the-body-of-your-great-niece-squickflailing::
Okay, got that out of my system. Anyway. Back to Lyta kicking ass.
Whoo! Oh, Lyta, how I've missed this you.
About the time that Brainwave manages to snap-connect, Power Girl finally succeeds in ripping Sand's body loose from the mantle and, despite getting some nasty burns in the process, manages to fly him back up to the surface so he can regain human form. The tectonic disturbances stop, and Sand's put in the hospital to recover.
But wait, what is this Project Sandman thing, you ask? Okay, you didn't ask, but humor me. Well, that's the subject of the second part of this post, aka "Hallidae's History Lesson", in which I dump a lot of backstory on the lot of you.
Way back in Infinity Inc. #42-44, the family curse of the Hawkclan came to pass, and Hector's consciousness was apparently destroyed, allowing the Silver Scarab to inhabit his soulless body (God, this happens to the guy a lot, doesn't it?). With no other way to defeat the Scarab, the other members of the team were forced to kill what was left of Hector in order to get rid of the bastard, leaving Lyta alone, in mourning, and pregnant.
In issue #49, Lyta apparently picks up a stalker who visits her in her sleep. When the team investigates, they find that there is someone who became the Sandman after Wesley Dodds, a man named Garrett Sanford. On the assumption that this is who's peeping in on Lyta, they set up a trap, only to find not Garrett, but Hector under the mask.
In issue #50, he explains how the hell he got there.
Al's reaction there is classic love triangle stuff, just for the record. Anyway, while this is going on, Skyman (formerly the original Star-Spangled Kid) is having a mental crack up that turns out to be due to magic influence. Hector joins the fight to get rid of the source of all the reality warping, then goes back to see Lyta again in a page that gives us the aforementioned second-creepiest Hectorface ever.
This run of Infinity ended shortly after, but as we all know by now, Hector and Lyta didn't get off that easy.
In Sandman, we find out that the 'base' is located inside the mind of a little boy named Jed Walker, and, contrary to what Brute and Glob are having the pair believe, their little corner of the Dreaming has actually been sealed off from the rest of the "dream stream", to keep them from interacting with anyone who might fuck up "the plan".
Also, Jed's dream life with Hector and Lyta doesn't exactly mesh with his real life.
Of course, things aren't completely shiny for our pair either. Hector, by now, has been completely brainwashed, and is stuck in Parody-Of-Golden-Age-Superhero Mode 24/7. Lyta, meanwhile, having not been put under control, has been sinking into depression and becoming more listless and doll-like outside of her interactions with Jed.
She's also been stuck at somewhere around 6-8 months pregnant for over two years now.
Anyway. Dream of the Endless finally escapes his imprisonment and is cleaning up the messes incurred in his absence, among which are missing nightmares like Brute and Glob, and the presence of a new Vortex (which breaks down barriers between dreamers and causes mass insanity, and thus, must be killed). The reason the Vortex part is important to the story of Hector and Lyta is that it, or, rather, she, is Jed's older sister Rose. Thus, the reasoning as to why Jed was picked becomes genetic, as while he doesn't have his sister's slowly emerging powers, he has a similarly strong connection to the Dreaming.
Dream makes his way into Jed's mind to confront his erstwhile nightmares, causing a psychic backlash that both kills Jed's abusive caretakers and brings everyone into the waking world.
This ends Hector's part of the story, until he's reincarnated as the new Doctor Fate. However, Lyta continues to wander in and out of the Sandman plotline (at one point, Dream shows up and orders her to name the child Daniel, and at another, the previously mentioned Rose Walker is Daniel's babysitter). Ultimately, Lyta becomes instrumental in the death of the Morpheus incarnation of Dream, allying with The Kindly Ones when Daniel goes missing and she mistakenly assumes Morpheus came back to kill him, the last of her sanity snapping in the process.
At the wake for Morpheus, she's met by old faces...
And a new-old face.
Lyta wakes and goes back out into the world, and the last we see of her between this and her appearance in the Amulet of Fate (at least as far as I know), is Mike Carey's Furies miniseries, which was already posted here.
So, here ends the history lesson, and this chapter of the series. In the next chapter, the magic world goes even more batshit than usual, and Daniel comes to visit his parents once more.