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"The Dreaming #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Vertigo Comics

The Dreaming 1 00

Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by Bilquis Evely
Colored by Mat Lopes
Lettered by Simon Bowland
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 5th, 2018

Review:

What happens when the place where dreams are made is broken? That's the situation we're in with The Dreaming. There's a literal crack in the sky and it's creating chaos in the realm. To make matters worse, Dream himself is nowhere to be found. He could be our only hope of repairing this damage. Meanwhile, Dora, the monstress, is having a ball, as this havoc has allowed her to bounce between dreams, stealing stories at will to use as currency across the land.

To say The Dreaming is beautiful would be doing it a disservice. Bilquis Evely's artwork is something far beyond that. It's intricate and incredibly detailed, not to mention filled with so much life and energy. You immediately get the sense of just how grand and epic this world and story are. One of my favorite segments comes as Dora leaps into one of the cracks in the sky to jump into someone's dream. This is shown as a series of bubbles, each with its own unique setting. Dora appears in each one to take what she wants from them.

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Even the gutters are dressed up for The Dreaming. When Dora travels, the space between the panels becomes a bit mystical, with swirling wisps of smoke. Reality bends for her so it makes sense that the page layout does the same.

One of Dora's journeys brings her into contact with Balam, a Duke of Hell. When he learns that Dream has left the realm, he sees it as an opportunity to invade. He appears as a monstrous entity of fire. Colorist Mat Lopes brings Balam to life with such raucous energy. He's menacing and powerful, as someone with his title should be, although he must still tread carefully in this realm.

There's an unmistakable feeling of dread throughout the entire issue. This is amplified by Lucien's doubts. He serves as the librarian in this land as well as the narrator of sorts, but his memory is leaving him. If he's losing it, then what's that say about the Dream realm as a whole? Evely brings such emotion to Lucien's face. It would be one thing if he just forgot some stuff, but he knows that he's forgetting these things and there's this look of abject terror and sadness that sweeps over him.

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Click images to enlarge

The sense of reason in all this is Matthew, the raven. He cuts to the chase and he may be the only one who can find the pieces to put together. As with The Sandman Universe #1, I love how letterer Simon Bowland portrays Matthew's speech. It appears in these jagged word balloons, outlined in yellow. The font is rough, like it's unnatural for him to talk.

It's clear that writer Simon Spurrier is on to an epic tale with The Dreaming. This should come as no surprise as Sandman is epic in its very nature. What stands out in this story is just how dire the situation is. These side characters are thrown into the spotlight and are creating a compelling narrative without the central figure in this world. That speaks volumes for the strength of the storytelling. It helps that there is a literal hole in the sky looming over them too.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars The Dreaming 1 Cover
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The Dreaming 1 Cover
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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