Destiny: A Chronicle
of Deaths Foretold

by Alisa Kwitney,
Kent Williams
(DC/Vertigo, 1997)

Destiny is the quiet one.

Of the seven siblings that are the Endless, the eldest has the least to say and do in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and its various spin-offs. Without the angst and introspection of Dream, the giddy fatalism of Death, the quirky weirdness of Delerium, and so on, blind Destiny seemed content to remain in the background.

Title notwithstanding, he continues to do so in Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold. It traces the path of a man in the not-too-distant future who comes to a small town of survivors in a plague-ravaged world bearing what seems to be a page torn from the Book of Destiny -- a book describing in detail events of the past, present and future. The stolen page concerns the matter of three great plagues of the past, but what bearing does it have on the current situation? Townsfolk will learn at the same pace as readers, who watch as the same pilgrim plays a role in all three periods when disease wracked the countryside and filled mass graves with the dead.

Artwork by Kent Williams is stark and slightly tortured, appropriate for a setting marked with disease and distrust. Additional artists -- Michael Zulli, Scott Hampton and Rebcca Guay -- provide additional art for the historic flashbacks.

A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold is an interesting, sometimes slow, sometimes emotional read that I enjoyed without being entirely absorbed in the text. The story doesn't lead me to believe Destiny will take his place among fan favorites like Death and Dream, although further exploration could reveal some untapped potential missed here.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 13 September 2003

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