This article is about Death from the comic series. However, you may be looking for Death from the Netflix adaptation.
“I’m not merciful or blessed. I’m just me. I’ve got a job to do, and I do it. When the first living thing existed, I was there. Waiting. When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I’ll put the chairs on the tables, turn the lights and lock the Universe behind me when I leave.“
Death is the second oldest of the Endless and the elder sister of Dream. To the ancient Romans, she was known as Teleute.
A generally kind and upbeat individual, though this was not always the case billions of years ago, she was pretty cold and pragmatic. Everyone meets her twice: at birth, she gives the breath of life, and everyone, from stars to gods, see her once more. Then, at the end of time, when the Universe dies, she claims that she will “put up the chairs, turn off the lights, and lock the doors behind me when I leave.”
She loves her job and takes it very seriously. Death has also been the maternal elder sister among her siblings. She can be frequently seen throughout The Sandman series, serving as Dream’s confidante, giving advice, pointing out his faults, or getting angry at the twins’ Despair and Desire for their “games,” which often interfere with the other Endless’ affairs.
She is closer to Dream than any other family member, and he sought her advice several times.
Death of the Endless came into existence shortly after the first lifeforms appeared in the Universe.
She is destined to be the embodiment of both life and Death until the last living thing is dead. After that, she was destined to put the Universe to rest. She likes to say: “When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I’ll put the chairs on the tables, turn the lights and lock the Universe behind me when I leave.”
Death does not guide the soul of the dead into any particular afterlife. She is merely a gateway into what lies beyond.
80,000 years ago
After Despair was murdered, Death and the Endless went to the necropolis to put her body to rest. The necropolitans had long lost their passion for their job and didn’t know about the necropolis’ arrangement with the Endless, so they laughed at them when they asked for Despair’s cerements and the book of rituals. The Endless revoked the necropolis’ charter, causing it to be destroyed. The village of Litharge was granted a charter by the Endless and became the new necropolis.
Destruction is called a family meeting of the Endless. He announced to Death and his family that he was abandoning his duties as one of the Endless and taking his leave for good.
Emperor Norton, I died, and Death took him. She told him that she had taken every king, emperor, and ruler in history into the afterlife, and of all those she’d met, Norton was by far her favorite.
Death spent one day of the century as a mortal, as was her custom. She became a peasant girl and spent the day by the Yangtze River with a young ox driver who told her his grand schemes and plans.
Death met up with her brother Dream and yelled at him for not getting a hold of her earlier after he’d been released from decades of imprisonment. She told him to stop moping because he felt purposeless after finishing a quest to retrieve his helm, pouch, and Dreamstone. Death had him accompany her while she went about her work and cheered him up a good deal.
Death heard Element Girl crying and went to talk to her. Element Girl hated her life as a metamorph and asked Death to take her. Death told her she couldn’t, but since Ra made the metamorphs, she advised Element Girl to speak to him, to speak to the sun, and kindly ask him for an end. Element Girl took Death’s advice, and Ra took her life. Death wished Element Girl better luck in her next life.
Destiny called a gathering of the Endless, telling them a meeting with the Fates made him aware that he had to call the family gathering to set in motion a chain of events that would cause change and upheaval. During the conversation, Desire got under Dream’s skin by reminding him of Nada. The Dream was indignant, but Death said she agreed with Desire. Sending his lover to Hell for spurning him was an awful thing to do. Dream vowed to make amends by journeying to Hell and saving Nada’s soul.
Dream asked for Death’s advice on what he should do with Hell. She was confident he’d figure things out and couldn’t stay to chat because she was swamped containing all the souls’ Lucifer Morningstar freed from Hell when he abdicated his realm.
Death and Dream.
Death took Wanda, who was killed when the witch woman Thessaly brought the moon down to the Earth. But, before they left for the afterlife, she let Wanda wave goodbye to her good friend Barbie.
Death took Bernie Capax, one of the Destruction’s old friends. When Destruction left the Endless, he set up a safeguard that would make it difficult for his family to track him down, and it caused the deaths of several of his friends when Dream and Delirium sought him out.
The Dream called Death to the Dreaming for advice after he ended his search for Destruction. Death was angry with him because when Dream refused to continue seeking Destruction, he was harsh with Delirium, and as a result, she closed off her realm. Death told him she was worried Delirium might leave the Endless as Destruction did, and she advised him to apologize to her for being so rude.
On a parallel Earth, Death took Prez into the afterlife. However, Death didn’t like that Prez would be in the hands of Boss Smiley in that world’s afterlife, so she told Dream of her interest in Prez and asked him to save Prez from Smiley.
Death met Dream and correctly guessed that he’d let things go so far in his battle against the Kindly Ones because he wanted to leave his role as Dream of the Endless but couldn’t abandon his post like Destruction did. The Kindly Ones arrived, and Dream allowed them to destroy him to save the Dreaming, and Death took Dream.
Death, to the surprise of many, is exceptionally kind, cheerful, laid-back, and compassionate. Also, despite her virtually infinite power, authority, knowledge, and influence, she is shown to be extraordinarily easygoing and humble. She prefers to dress and act casually, disliking formal dress and events, to the surprise of many who encounter her–and who they assume would be an ominous personage.
As the second oldest of the Endless, Death has taken on a maternal role among the siblings and has a good relationship with them, but Dream in particular. She takes offense when he thinks she wouldn’t care about his issues, reprimanding him for moping around after reclaiming all of his powers when he could have just gone off to do something else or talk to her when he’s feeling down.
Despite her job description, Death has always been the perkiest of the Endless. While Destiny (the eldest of them) is very cold and detached, Death is warm and caring. She has taken the role of the peacemaker among the siblings. She can be frequently seen throughout The Sandman series serving as Dream’s confidante. Gives advice and points out his faults or gets angry at the twins’ Despair and Desire for their “games,” which often intervene with the other Endless’ affairs.
Death is closer to Dream than any other Endless member, and he sought her advice several times. She also has shown that her job takes a backseat to her family, unlike Dream and Destiny, who seem to take their job seriously.
Out of all the Endless, she is the most affectionate towards humanity and the ablest to relate to humans. Unfortunately, some have interpreted the statement on Death loving a mortal and assuring their downfall as a reversed statement. Since everyone will die at some point or other, this could mean that Death loves everyone.
Death, by her admission, was not always who she now is. At the beginning of time, she thought she had the most challenging job among the Endless. It made her unhappy – so sad, in fact, she stopped doing it. When nothing died, chaos reigned, and she was begged to return to her realm. She did so, but she became “hard and cold and brittle inside.” A suggestion of this could be seen in Endless Nights: The Heart of a Star in her arrogant and icy attitude.
Her demeanor didn’t change until she was asked by one she collected; “How would you like it?” After that, she resolved to live for one day as a mortal to see how she liked it and what she could learn. It was only after her taste of mortality that she altered the way she thought about her job. She decided that in the end, most would be glad for the company of a friend. And that was what she tried to become.
Despite Death’s kind and gentle nature, she can inspire great fear and intimidate the most fearsome and persistent cosmic forces, including beings such as The Three and her own sibling, Desire.
Powers and Abilities
- A personification of Death.
- Superhuman Reflexes.
- Grant of Immortality.
- Restraint of Souls
- Gift of Life
- Ancient Rules
You can watch Sandman Series on Netflix.