Where to begin with this month’s Lucy Dreaming? For starters, let’s begin with the fact that we were previously left with the bombshell that Lucy, a girl who seemed like any typical teenager dealing with issues like having uncool parents and trying to fit in with her peers, was being driven into lucid dreams connected to science fiction stories and myths. And as a double whammy, her parents knew about all this since she was born but had chosen not to tell her, and apparently her best friend at school, Welsey, is also experiencing the same thing.
Lucy confronts Welsey about the fact that he appeared in her dreams and he eventually realizes she’s right, after first denying it. The two agree to obtain more information from their respective parents. When she arrives home, Lucy is accosted by her mom who starts off similarly to how she and her dad approached her at the start of the last issue, with trying to be cool, explanatory and generally sympathetic to the situation. When Lucy reveals that she found out Welsey’s dad was the character she met in her dream during the first issue who died, her mom loses it and the façade of a calm, cool and collected parent seems to reveal someone who is so caught up in her science that she doesn’t have any idea how to raise a kid, as she whines almost as bad as one would expect Lucy to, at her age.
Lucy storms off to her room and enters another dream, only to find herself as a female werewolf in this one (hey, we were pretty close on our prediction!) And to top it off, she turns out to have a daughter in this dream who it turns out is a “slayer” of sorts. The two have a heartfelt conversation, and things seem to be going well, when a vampire shows up and Lucy’s “daughter” is about to strike him when she realizes that this is the form that Welsey has taken in the new dream. Lucy and Welsey excitedly converse before they are interrupted by Lucy’s daughter, who decides to take matters into her own hands. As this is going on, it leads to some outbursts, which of course lead to consequences.
This issue was a definite step up from its predecessor, which seemed to get a bit bogged down in exposition and geared everything to the surprise revelation at the end (and still managed to garner an 8.5 from us!). This time, we not only get yet another surprise cliffhanger at the end, but also the entire story is themed around the relationship between mother and daughter. In other words, we get a deep exploration of relationships. We learn about the fact that Welsey feels as though he has been abandoned by his father, and how he is actually quite wrong. This is a preview for what Lucy and her mom will go through, and a cautionary tale of what could be if they don’t change their ways and appreciate each other more — for mom, to not take her daughter for granted, and for the daughter, to realize her mom actually loves her and just does a bad job at trying to show it.
To help them reach this realization, Bemis uses a brilliant technique of role reversal, in several ways. The mother lets her emotions get the best of her and starts lashing out at the daughter, essentially becoming a petulant child. The daughter takes on the role of the mother, literally, in her dreams, and when she embraces peace, her “daughter” embraces violence. I suspect that when she meets up with her mom in “real life” again, she will feel much more sympathetic to her. Before she does though, the ending tells us she is going to have to deal with another relationship that seems to have thrust itself upon her rather unexpectedly. I also really enjoyed the creative way in which the scripting continues to tell us who Lucy is. Last time we saw the usage of the creative sticky notes to cover up cursing, and in this issue we get a memorable scene where Lucy in her frustration goes off and actually betrays that she cares about her mom in an insanely long and hilarious run-on sentence that goes everywhere.
Perhaps the only knock I had in the story was Lucy’s “daughter” in the dream world. When we first meet her and she thinks her mom has gone off the deep end, she seems to readily accept Lucy’s explanation about her being a teenage girl very quickly, without any doubt. However, later on, when Lucy explains to her that the vampire before her is Welsey, she doesn’t believe it and just “kills” him. This little bit of inconsistency is obviously minor and was meant to drive the story along, but it makes the events of this issue’s dreamworld seem a bit more like a plot device rather than something able to stand on its own. Indeed, we don’t get to see much of the actual world here, as the focus is entirely on werewolf Lucy and this girl.
If I had to use one word to describe the art in this issue, it’s “clever.” Dialynas uses a neat technique in this issue where similar to the story, the art builds up throughout the course of the story and achieves a peak right before coming down to Earth, literally back to where the issue started and just as the moment the story goes for a cliffhanger. There is also great care taken to illustrating the character in faraway shots, such as when Lucy has a slow transformation back into a human from a female werewolf, the transformation takes place over several panels and we can see her become human again for the first time in her new body from a distant view. Finally, the transformed “daughter” of Lucy as well as Welsey’s dream form are shown to be much more sinister looking and menacing than arguably any of the villains we have seen in the previous two issues. Seeing the range of emotions the transformed “Welsey-Goblin/Vampire” goes through in particular is nothing short of hilarious.
Lucy Dreaming has firmly established that it’s no fluke, with consistent art, a variety of different fictional scenarios, character depth and exploration, and a compelling lead who is a flawed person but refreshingly so compared to those around her. At its core, when you put all the science fiction elements aside, this is still a book dedicated towards showing how a young teenager experiences relationships, whether it’s with family or friends. I encourage you to go get it.