Why You Should Read…
Dreamkeepers: Volume 2 by David and Liz Lillie
I need to revise my previous opinions in regards to comicbook/graphic novel works out there.
Safe to say, it struck me I’m rather picky when it comes to a good story. I recently bought Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta which blew me away. I also picked up his critically acclaimed Batman-Joker one-shot The Killing Joke and John Constantine’s Hellblazer comics. Batman: Year One from Frank Miller caught my eye, I consider his early years to be his best work. And wow. Then the Watchmen by Alan Moore, I really must re-read that.
So, yes, I do occasionally pick up from DC comics. The only Marvel work I have is a 70’s Spiderman Anthology.
Just drawing from my previous review to get started.
Let’s move onto Dreamkeepers Vol. 2, shall we? I’ll structure this review a little bit better compared to last time.
As usual, David and Liz produce fantastic scenic backgrounds, and giving their own spin. From the glowing snow of the Starfall mountains to the Shinto-like neighborhoods of the Kojiki district. Unfortunately, the lovely imagery is ruined by the possibility of loss of limb, sanity, or a minor case of death. The colors fit together, showcasing new characters such as Igrath and Scinter which I imagine were a pain to draw in the first place considering how intricate their movements would be with extra wings or tail.
For the character models, I noticed a progression of dynamics and interaction. Starting from the mid-way point of the novel, the characters seemed to jump out at me, especially near the end. The amazing duo picked up on past mistakes in the first volume and improved on their weaknesses in the second which I found aesthetically pleasing for a multitude of reasons.
To give you an idea of this folks, compare Indi, or is it Digo? In the first volume where Ravat is shown, compare it to the end of Volume 2.
I certainly crowd-searched for a bit during this volume since the characters were much more defined. Those who read for the art will enjoy this progression of improvement.
Serial Escalation – “We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.” – Jim Gordon, Batman Begins.
Kind of felt that quote fits best in describing the first to the second volume. Things escalated to say the least after nearly getting killed by a monster thought to be a myth, and a narcissistic pop diva turns out to be a happy-stabby enemy trying to move up the ranking hierarchy. Whichever sounds worse, take your pick.
As usual,, again, David drops hints in the story whether its background related or in plain sight. While the dynamics between Grunn, Igrath and Scinter show they have history, it’s largely implicated and a very good display of ‘show and not tell’. While most details are Plot Vaulted now it is nonetheless an intriguing development behind the organization the three work for.
And just because environments change, does that mean the characters are safe? Hell. No.
While David has made it known that he avoids deus ex machina’s, it’s refreshing to see characters in constant danger and empathizing with the circumstances of the situation. It may be some time before some crucial points in character development comes along, but we at least get a hint of it in the volume.
As for the antagonist side of things, we come face to face with one of the leaders of the Nightmares. It clearly shows that the relations between Nightmares-Dark Dreamkeepers aren’t free of hostility, which will likely snowball with future events.
While not much can be said on the subject of characterization since the series is in it’s infancy, there was one particular development which did catch my eye.
Bast, the red scarf-wearing raccoon/badger somethin’ or other. Mace had an earlier altercation with him and his addition felt both surprising and hints at deeper depths. After only reading Vol. 1, I imagine many would get the impression he’s nothing more than a violent, sociopath, anti-social teen. With Vol. 2 read, it gives him a good portrayal that shows him with an enigmatic air and a past wholly different compared to others such as Namah, Lilith, Mace and Whip.
We shouldn’t expect too much in this area since Dave and Liz are laying the bedrock to springboard future events. Nonetheless, it gave us a glimpse of certain factions in play: The mysterious ‘Troika’ organization, the teenage misfits, and reality devouring abominations beyond normal conception and thought.
Mix and stir.
First off, the chase scene on Starfall distinctly reminded me of the Bourne series for some reason or another. It was tense and suspenseful since none of them were capable of using their powers and had no choice but to run. It also served as a good reminder: their just kids. Survival would be the only thing on their minds at the moment.
Alongside the misfits scramble, a raid takes place on the safe house which effectively highlighted the capabilities of Igrath and Scinter, including the policing forces of Anduruna. It made events bump up another notch on internal machinations implicated within the government.
This gave the tense scenes all the more high-stake risk. Where it goes, I hope things continue to the point that it’ll be a shock to turn the next page.
This is minor, but I felt like it.
Compared to the wry humor of Vol. 1, Vol 2 had a much more raunchy sense of humor with the occasional wit. Complaints? Not so much, but I’d give this volume to someone above the 15 age range.
It did lead up to one of the funniest scenes in the Dreamkeepers series so far. Involving a plan with two skimpy then topless twin bombshells crashing a cart full of illegal alcohol.
I’d give Dreamkeepers Vol. 2: 5/5.
With some minor complaints that are overshadowed by the new developments in the series. We can’t expect there to be answers one volume after another, as they might have importance in later volumes. Ultimately we get more questions than we do answers. Some might take it as plot holes, but they’ll likely be explained later on as a lynchpin to progress the story.
This is an opinion-driven review. I admit I might be a little biased, but I mostly discuss the strengths of the series volume by volume.
Oh, and the term Plot Vault belongs to Dave and Liz Lillie.
I do not own Dreamkeepers, if I did, I’d be cloning another Dave in order to hasten the release of future volumes.