asked me to do a review of Volume 3 of their fantastic DreamKeepers series, and given that I greatly enjoy the series, I happily agreed.
Firstly let me just say that if you've not hear of DreamKeepers yet, you're missing out. The story is in-depth and the artwork is superb. There's plenty of artwork posted on their account that should get you interested.
Upon receiving the graphic novel in the mail, the first thing that struck me was how nice the cover looked. Something about it seemed cleaner and more refined, setting the tone for the rest of the book. Upon opening it to flick through the pages, I was hit with incredible levels of detail and vivid colours. DreamKeepers has always had fantastic amounts of care and attention to detail, but Volume 3 seemed like a step up.
Maybe three steps.
The story is no slouch, either. To summarise the story so far: the people (known as 'Dream Keepers') that inhabit the world each have a special power, but the use of these powers has been strictly prohibited for generations due to them being deemed too dangerous. Dark creatures known as 'Nightmares' seem to be making a move behind the scenes, but they are largely thought of a nothing more than myth and legend as nobody has seen one in centuries. The focus of the story is around a group of kids that are thrust together and entangled in a world of conspiracy and dark forces that could change the balance of their world. Mace, Whip, Lilith, Namah, and Bast all seem to be instrumental in tipping the balance one way or the other, but none know how or why.
While some of them have more to be revealed about themselves, each character is engaging and entertaining, and has you wondering what's next in store for them. The story doesn't shy away from mature themes, and is far darker than one would initially think. The vicious murder of Mace's friend at the orphanage he grew up in kick starts his adventure.
The story also has a fair amount of humour, much of which involving how the adolescent Mace deals with his crush on the slightly older Lilith, and his rivalry with the teenage bad-boy, Bast. The characters are witty and their interactions seem genuine.
Like a mentioned before, Volume 3 is incredibly detailed with it's artwork. Backgrounds are rich and vibrant, and you always get a sense of whether a scene is full of busy people with busy lives, or if it's somewhere empty and desolate. Crowd scenes always have something interesting happening within them, so there's always something extra to find on each page.
The panelling is interesting as well, often breaking away from the standard boxes with black outlines that most would use (myself included). This leads to some pretty cool page composition, though there are times where the action can be a little hard to follow between panels. This issue subside pretty early though, and was only really noticeable in the first two volumes. Panels maintain variety throughout the book - be it during calm and quite moments of conversation or suspense, or high-paced and frenetic action during a fight or escape from danger.
All in all, DreamKeepers is a fantastic series and Volume 3 is no exception. The world has been fully thought out, the characters are diverse, and the story has depth. I would definitely recommend it to anybody that enjoys a good story, and graphic novels the don't compromise their integrity for so-called 'mass market appeal'. It's a high quality self-published endeavour that led to the creation of Vivid Independent Publishing, and I have nothing but respect toward both Dave and Liz for bringing it into reality.
Go out and grab a copy! Right now!
Also, Randy is a world-class ass. Just sayin'.