The Dreaming has been a series that sticks with you. Its plethora of colorful characters, incredible art from Bilquis Evely, and the deep meaning behind what myth and story mean to humanity are all glue that keep this story together. Issue #17 adds a whole new layer of meaning as we get new details and meaning on key characters and plot. Buckle up, it’ll change how you think of the turmoils of the last sixteen issues.
This is the kind of read you’ll want to re-read right after it’s done. It involves Dora confronting the mysterious sick man in bed as a voice talks at her from a digital looking word balloon. There are three or so big reveals in this issue. The first gives us new insight on Dora, the second helps us understand this mysterious man and his final purpose, and finally…we’ll, I’ll let you experience the last for yourself. A familiar trope of this series is telling a story within a story, and Si Spurrier does so again with the mysterious sickly man. Through digital recordings, Dora learns the full truth and it’s quite a reveal. It’s also interesting that it’s all being told digitally, which connects well with the computer running the Dreaming currently.
The plot here ties well into earlier concepts Spurrier has hinted at. The world is changing and dreaming less due to technology and there’s another side to that coin revealed here. It’ll make you think a bit and it’s quite an impressively original idea to ponder.
Marguerite Sauvage colors and draws this issue and it looks great. There’s a good mix of panel work, montaging, and lighter tones in color. There is a lot to get through and a lot of exposition, yet you’ll be on the edge of your seat. I particularly like how Dora is depicted in her monster persona as the use of color creates a depth to her that’s quite interesting, while the horrific nature of her visage will make you linger. I’m not always a fan of it, but Sauvage’s use of the sweaty brow to convey stress works well here too.
If you’re at all the impatient type, or if you’ve been holding off reading this series due to the deep questions, I’d suggest picking this up or start reading now. This issue gives a sufficient explanation of the original idea behind this work. While reading I actually pondered what Spurrier’s meetings were like with Neil Gaiman as there are certainly reveals here that had to have been part of the pitch from the start. It actually gives this issue a feeling of finality, as if we’re rounding the bend toward the finish.
This series continues to inspire. You’ll linger on its ideas and if you’re lucky enough, get to talk about them with others. The Dreaming continues to be one of the richest, most thought-provoking series on the shelf.