Writer: Sarah Vaughn
Artist: Leila Del Duca
Colorists: Alissa Sallah & Gabe Fischer
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Frank Lanza
The concept of not sleeping ever again does have a certain appeal. I could catch up on my Netflix queue, have more time to exercise, heck I could get a lot more comics read at the very least. I’m sure there has to be a downside, but the advantages of getting that third of my life back would have to be worth it, right?
Sleepless #2 continues the the tale of Lady Pyppenia and her Sleepless Knight Cyrenic. The last issue ended with a thwarted attempt on Lady Pyppenia’s life. She asks Cyrenic to stand vigil over her through the night, and this issue picks up the next morning. Pyppenia is told a Mribeshi ship is pulling into harbor, and she rushes to meet it, expecting her mother to finally have come for her after the death of her father. Finding her aunt instead, her hopes are dashed even further when she discovers that not only is her mother not coming for her, but the new King Verato will not allow her to leave the court either. She is now trapped in the castle where one assassination attempt has already occurred, while Cyrenic is not only searching for those behind the attacks but is also battling his Sleepless existence…
As a fantasy title, Sleepless #2 is a classic fairy tale in comic book form. The story, while admittedly only two issues in, is a slow burn, building the world, characters and plot a little bit at a time. You are dropped into a fantasy world that feels already complete and lived in. These characters seem to have already been established and familiar before you’ve even had a chance to meet them. It’s a comfortable, solid setting and Vaughn has done great work in making our introduction to the world of Sleepless swift and effortless thus far. I love the concept of the Sleepless Knights and hope upcoming issues reveal more about what their vigil fully entails.
To restate my previous comment, Vaughn has created an incredible fantasy world with a new and original twist on the genre. The political maneuvering and “game of thrones” at court is obviously nothing new to the genre, but I appreciate the diversity of the cast thus far and the Sleepless Knights add just the right amount of magical element to her world.
On the artistic side of the coin, the work here by Del Duca is superb. She has taken Vaughn’s world and spun it out with a fairy tale-like style. I feel like I’m reading a children’s storybook from my youth. There isn’t an abundance of detail and rendered backgrounds and this book doesn’t need it, she provides just the right amount of scenery to give a sense of the world these characters live in while keeping the focus squarely on them. I did appreciate the small touches she adds, like the nicely detailed house sigils in the throne room, the patterns on Pyppenia’s gowns, and how the Sleepless Knights truly look like they haven’t slept in years. The colors by Sallah and Fisher are a perfect compliment to this fairy tale and never try too hard to overpower the scene or makes things too bright and cheery. This is a medieval-esque world we are in after all; it should look worn down and lived in.
Buy it. My original verdict for this book was going to be “Wait and See.” The story is in no hurry to divulge its secrets, asking us to coming along for a long ride to see these many threads and mysteries unravel. I’d normally trade-wait a tale like this one. But, Sleepless #2 has such charm and depth, and honestly I think the Sleepless Knights are just too cool of a concept that I don’t want to wait 5-6 months to see how this first story arc plays out. There are too few true fantasy comics out right now, and none that are taking such care to make us fall in love with their main characters as this book. If Vaughn and Del Duca can continue to progress the story, while maintaining the tone of the book, I’ll keep reading.