When Dark Nights: Metal #1 hits the stands this week, the issue will feature a surprising cameo from Daniel Hall, the current representation of Dream of the Endless, who first appeared in Neil Gaiman's award-winning Sandman series for DC's mature readers line.
One of the most acclaimed comic book series of all time, Sandman took the name of a Golden Age DC superhero and applied it to a metaphysical being -- the embodiment of dreams -- who was part of a larger family of beings that also embodied the concepts of Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Gaiman, who has been protective of the characters in the past, signed off on Snyder's use of Daniel in Metal.
"I was so excited. It was one of the greatest days of my professional life," Snyder told The Washington Post. "[Gaiman] couldn't have been more generous. I just want to say thank you to him for sharing such an incredibly special character with us. It's literally one of the best moments of my career, to be able to get to write a character that meant so much to me growing up and still does."
Daniel already has ties to the DC Universe: he is the son of Hippolyta "Lyta" Hall (Fury) and Hector Hall (Doctor Fate). Hector Hall was recently revived in Blue Beetle and a helmet that looks like his appeared in Dark Days: The Forge, a prequel to Metal.
In Metal, Hawkman and Batman are both pursuing a mystery tied to Nth Metal, the alien alloy that gives Hawkman and numerous other DC heroes and villains power. Along the way, the heroes discover a "Dark Multiverse," which has known of our world for years and is preparing to strike.
It is not yet clear what role Dream will play in the event, although he was only one of a number of off-the-beaten-path characters and exotic locales Snyder mentioned when talking about Metal at Comic-Con. Others included Skartaris, home of Travis Morgan the Warlord, and Mongul's Warworld, which plays a role in Metal #1 as well.
"[Dream] has some very key moments that spin the story in its essential directions," he said. "At the same time, this really is a Justice League story focused on their discovery of the Dark Multiverse and the invasion with these evil Batmen [now] here and the desperate attempt to stop that using Nth metal."
The connection between Sandman and the DC Universe has always been somewhat fluid. In the early days of the series, before Vertigo was a standalone imprint that existed outside of the DC Universe, characters like Superman and Green Lantern appeared in the pages of Sandman. By the time the series was done, it seemed fairly fully divorced from the DCU.
After Sandman concluded, Daniel went on to appear in a handful of issues from Grant Morrison's critically-acclaimed JLA run and JSA, the Justice Society-centric sister series.
For more Metal talk with writer Scott Snyder, join ComicBook.com on Wednesday. We've got some cool stuff coming.