Writer: Dany Lore Art: Jordi Pérez Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A futuristic crime story where dreams can become sentient beings.
Vault's elevator pitch said it'd be like The Sandman" meets Blade Runner, and that's absolutely right on the money.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Daher is an Inspector Judge – a sort of detective whose beat is covering dream entities. She's got a lot of experience and has made quite a name for herself.
Of course, all that success doesn't come without cost. Daher's prioritized her professional life over her personal one, and choices like that have consequences.
But we don't dwell on that. Instead, Daher has a new case: a figment has escaped from the dream of a powerful politician's son, and the investigation has serious implications tied to it. Furthermore, this case may be tied to the event that first spilled dreams into our world.
Not only is the concept new and interesting, but Lore's narrative style, using a character who is once removed from our protagonist to tell the tale in an almost bedtime-story style is thoughtful and fascinating
There seems to be a lot of trust and/or teamwork on Queen of Bad Dreams, especially with regard to the art – Pérez and Kelly work very well together with their line art and color
It seems like fingerprints might be used as a light radiating effect, which is super cool, visually
Pérez seems to think a lot about the panels through the "lens" of a camera's vantage point, often tilting the "camera" up to make the characters or situations seem larger than life, or giving the scene a sort of fish-eye lens effect to make them have a surreal quality
The dreams are also conceptually captivating, from a monster Dearbhla Kelly colors with crayon scribbles (my favorite part of this issue!) to human characters, to humanoid anime figments
Speaking of Kelly's color, she often seems to use colors opposite from each other on the color wheel, contrasting against each other when laid out on the page to give a sense that elements are at war with each other. Often panels are visually striking because of this.
I love that our protagonist is a nuanced woman of color who is also bi or a lesbian, that many of the characters are also minorities, and that the terrible white guy is an entitled jerk. Not only is this often reflective of reality (sadly, for the latter part of the previous sentence), but it gives so much positive and important representation of (and for) audiences who rarely get it.
Outside of my one nitpick below, I'm excited to see Kim McLean's lettering. Her choices are good thus far, and I like the simple, elegant tails and balloon effects.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Weird nitpick: I don't love the caption boxes anchored to the corner – the look wrong there, somehow, but this very well could just be me
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Queen of Bad Dreams is an absolutely captivating crime mystery that bridges the cold, hard reality of cyberpunk science fiction with the messy world of the conceptual.
It folds in complicated interpersonal relationships and sociopolitical commentary for a story that feels at once both novel and grounded in our modern times.
Another A+ Vault title from a remarkably talented team!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
If you like the art:
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Danny Lore – Writer
Danny Lore is a queer editor & writer from Harlem & the Bronx
Multitalented: While much of their experience is in editing comics and writing prose, this is the first comic they've written!
Jordi Pérez – Artist
Outlander: Hails from Spain
Moniker: Also goes by "Jorge Perez"
Dearbhla Kelly – Colorist
Multitalented: Also does graphic design, illustration, motion graphics, branding, editorial & commercial work
Would love to color a New Mutants comic
Kim McLean – Letterer
Multitalented: Is also Vault Comics's VP of Marketing/Sales, created cover art for the comic, Friendo, and is a UX strategist
Enjoys home brewing beer
Adrian F. Wassel – Editor
Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor In Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles
Also helps run Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators, like Eric Palicki, in their endeavors
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Queen of Bad Dreams #1 hits shelves 4/24/2019.
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