Last month we established that Lucy Dreaming, a new series launched by Max Bemis and Michael Dialynas, was an above-average debut of a world and a protagonist that bucked the trend when it came to stories about the subsconscious and dream plane. We were left in the last issue with Lucy, the protagonist, having been awoken from one of these “lucid dreams” by her parents. In this issue, they start the story off by giving her a talk about why she got the way she was, and it’s a doozy.
It turns out her parents, who we already know from before were brilliant scientists of a sort, were conducting an experiment while Lucy’s mother was pregnant with her. According to her parents, the experiment backfired and it ended up creating a link between Lucy’s brain and all sorts of “myths.” However, the expressions on the faces of her parents and their repeated hesitation and uncertainty seems to betray that there could be a lot more going on. To me, they don’t seem to be telling the entire truth and I’m willing to bet that the big secret is that Lucy was purposely conceived to be part of the experiment. If this is the case, it will open up a lot of narrative and moral doors that can then start to throw in tough questions, depending on how long Bemis has planned to spend time with this world and character. In any case, the rest of the issue features Lucy’s return to class, and subsequent return to the dream world.
But in the dream world in this issue, things are mixed up as Lucy appears in a different “fantasy world” than in the previous issue, one that will suggest a cross between The Hunger Games and any Legend of Zelda video game. It’s refreshing that it appears that when Lucy enters her “dream state,” she doesn’t always get transported to the same “myth,” and it opens up a lot of exciting possibilities as to what we could see in the next issue. (Since we had space opera in the last issue and dystopia in this issue, I’m predicting we get a riff on Twilight or some other vampire love story in the next issue). It’s interesting to note that there appear to be common elements to this point with both dreams/myths — someone usually dies and it turns out that there is some link back to the real world present in the dream, usually in the form of a person. As the issue ends, it’s this latter component that looks like it will be explored further in the next issue.
It’s little things that make this issue special. The creative way in which the writing team censors cursing is hilarious and something I’ve never seen before in any comic, and the way the story manages to actually find a way to make the “deaths” of some characters humorous while never being tasteless (with some great splash pages!), are just two examples. On the second point in particular, I got a Looney Tunes type of vibe especially if you realize that it’s just a dream, and just as with some cartoons (or video games), the characters will find a way to keep coming back or simply “respawn” (even if that’s not something we’ve seen just yet).
The art remained strong and may have even topped the last issue. There’s a specific sequence after Lucy finishes reacting to her parents’ revelation that is wonderfully unique — in neon-colored pencils filled in with black colors, Lucy is shown to destroy the furniture at home in her anger and abandonment, but it looks like that is just what she dreams/wishes she could do and she doesn’t actually take any action. The way the art is presented actually leaves it unclear whether she actually took that sort of an action after all. Also, I imagine that it must be refreshing for Dialynas to not have to draw the same characters every issue, if the varying dream trend continues, because he is able to draw Lucy’s dream companions in a way that distinguishes Charlizette Flourish (aka Girl Link) from Lucy and the others, who appear to have the same predicament and demeanor as Lucy – rough around the edges, brooding, unsure, while Charlizette is drawn demonstrating an overly exaggerated calm and serenity that simply doesn’t make any sense (and in the end costs her dearly).
This book has now made it clear that no fictional genre or type of story is off-limits and it opens up a huge world of storytelling possibilities. While the story continues to be a lot of fun, I was slightly disappointed that the this month Bemis didn’t seem to move the larger plot forward as much as he did in the introductory issue. I’m also curious if there will be follow up on what happens in every distinct “dream world,” especially if the plan is to jump from dream to dream every issue. But for the moment, the quality of the book remains strong and should continue to be on your pull list without question.