"You get life, and breath, a world to walk and a path through the world--and the free will to wander the world as you choose."
He is the only one of the Endless to abandon his realm and responsibilities and so is often referred to as The Prodigal.
Since he abandoned his realm, there is no sigil in the galleries for him, though he keeps his own gallery (wherein is a sword, his sigil of old). His realm is not portrayed in the series. On his travels he was often accompanied by a talking dog, Barnabas, whom he later gave to his sister, Delirium.
Billions of Years Ago
Destruction of the Endless came into existence shortly after the creation of the universe, but after his older siblings Destiny, Death and Dream.
Like his siblings, Destruction is neither a living being nor a god. He is the embodiment of destruction itself, the greatest instrument of change, fulfilling his purpose to destroy in order that new things may be created. He is Dream’s immediately younger sibling but in many ways wiser and more aware of the Endless' place in the universe. He is like the big brother of the rest, he stops arguments, comforted those during their change and showered Despair with his affection.
When Destruction saw the mind of man turn toward science, he foresaw the inevitable use of science as a tool for destruction on a planetary (and perhaps universal) scale. Not wanting to be responsible for such massive devastation, perhaps obliteration, Destruction abandoned his realm and his responsibilities sometime around the turn of the 17th century AD.
The reason for this was the onset of the human Age of Reason, which would eventually culminate in the invention of the atomic bomb. Destruction was unwilling to be responsible for the destruction this would cause and therefore left the family. He did not cease to exist as the active aspect of Destruction, he simply stopped directing the affairs over which he has control.
On the Run
Destruction features most prominently in Brief Lives, in which his siblings Morpheus and Delirium set out to track him down. When they finally meet they talk at cross-purposes; Destruction's choice of path baffles and to some degree infuriates Morpheus, while Destruction finds it hard to comprehend Morpheus' position and concentrates on trying to impart to him some wisdom on the necessity of change and self-knowledge. Delirium just wants her brother back; she is reliant on her siblings for support, particularly her elder brothers. In the end, Destruction simply leaves, packing his sword and his scrying pool into a bundle, stepping into the sky, and vanishing.
Destruction is often depicted as a very tall, muscular, red-haired, bearded man. He has taken to wearing his hair in a ponytail
In appearances set in earlier centuries, he is depicted wearing military gear (such as a musketeer's uniform, or plate armor), though in more recent times he is shown in colorful casual clothes.
Destruction prefers to think of himself as the personification of change; a warrior poet, he likes to try his hand at creating various forms of art, none of which are very good, and things that he's involved with never seem to work out properly. Apart from Death, Destruction is the friendliest and most personable of all the Endless. Before he left the family, he was the peacemaker of the group, the one who got along with everyone. Some of other Endless seem to hold him in contempt for abandoning his duties to varying degrees. Destruction himself however bears then no ill-will and regrets abandoning his family, but left as he believed it was a matter of conscience.
Destruction is self-obsessed in the most positive sense of that term; after giving up his responsibilities he concentrates instead on attempting to learn about his own nature and exert control over it. This is manifested in his deliberate attempt to subvert his own essential nature and create instead of destroying; he is shown at various points writing indifferent poetry - Barnabas' critique of which, "Well, at least it wasn't long", painting an indifferent picture, which Barnabas summed up, "I thought you were colorblind," a sculpture which Barnabas referred to as "...that thing you left in the garden," cooking a meal left untouched by those for whom it was intended and brewing Greek coffee which Delirium samples and returns the opinion of "Yeeuchh." Several characters refer to him as being a terrible artist.
Ironically, Destruction does not have complete reign over his own domain. As he says, destruction did not stop, it was merely no longer his fault. His point is shown in the spinoff series, Lucifer, which includes the character Fenrir, who is described as the act of destruction itself. Though not said, it has been postulated that this is the manifestation of Destruction's realm. As an aspect of change, the search for Destruction also foreshadows the eventual downfall and replacement of his brother, Dream. It was Destruction, in fact, who told Orpheus that Death had a way for him to visit the Underworld, which set off the chain of events leading to Dream's destruction.
In a story in Endless Nights set billions of years before the events of the Sandman Series, Destruction is shown as being vastly different (as the rest of the Endless, save for Destiny). Destruction is depicted as being nervous and stuttering in stark contrast to the jocular and eloquent Destruction in the main series, just as Delirium was once Delight.
Powers and Abilities
- Personification of Destruction: One of the seven Endless, inconceivably powerful beings, Destruction is both lord and personification of all Destruction and Creation. He has power over the action and process of destroying as well as the act of making, inventing, or producing.
- Omnipresence: Being Destruction, he is everywhere on Earth at any moment, but not in a form visible to humans, usually.
- Shapeshifting: Destruction could change his appearance and clothing.
- Teleportation: he can travel instantly anywhere in the mortal realm that people die and live, and, so long as he shows proper respect, he can easily enter and transit most magical realms too.
- Immortality: Destruction was ageless and virtually immortal.
- Magic: Nigh-Omnipotent mastery of magic.
- Ancient Rules: Despite his great powers, Destruction, like the rest of the Endless, was bound to a complex set of rules and customs.
- One which requires he not to spill the blood of family or he is no longer protected as the personification of Destruction from other Personifications
- Another is that he cannot fall in love with a mortal or the mortal's downfall is assured.
Behind the Scenes
- Destruction's appearance somewhat resembles to actor Brian Blessed. Neil Gaiman had mentioned that he would like Blessed to play Destruction in the event of a Sandman movie.
- Destruction's realm was not portrayed in the Sandman series.
- Destruction's speech bubbles have an extra-thick border. Aside from that, though, they look no different from the human characters' speech bubbles, highlighting the fact that he, along with Death, is the most human of the Endless.