Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Dreaming #2 by Simon Spurrier - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: Merv Pumpkinhead ain’t happy.

Sure, Merv Pumpkinhead doesn’t exactly radiate happy at the best of times, but now? Right now a bunch of blank-faced strangers from between realities are taking local jobs; foreign criminals are profiteering at the realm’s expense; and the VIPs seem more interested in themselves than getting back to the “good old days.”

The Dreaming used to be somewhere a vegetable-headed guy could be proud to call home, y’know?

Fact is, Merv Pumpkinhead’s been pushed too far. It’s time for change. Right at the top.

The Dreaming #2 by Simon Spurrier dives deeper into the mystery of where Dream is and just who or what Dora is. In this issue, we follow everyone’s favorite grumpy maintenance man, Mervyn Pumpkinhead, or Merv as he is known. In the past, I’ve always liked Merv, because he acts as a sort of every-man for the reader, putting us on the ground floor of all the strange and wonderful happenings in the Dreaming, and that’s how he functions in this story, as well. When a particularly powerful (and stoned) lucid dreamer appears, Merv is forced to deal with all of the craziness, but things are getting harder with Dream missing. Full of his usual grumblings and complaints, Merv attempts to recruit some help from some of the other leader-types in the Dreaming: Lucien, Cain, Abel, and even Eve. However, they are all dealing with their own issues. When Merv notices Dora stealing food and distracting his workers, Merv has decided he has had enough. But, Dora isn’t quite what she seems. All of this chaos seems to push Mervyn Pumpkinhead into making a bad decision, the consequences of which will be felt for a while.

There was a lot going on in this issue. Lucien continues to cover for Dream, but he is also losing his ability to narrate. Cain and Abel are distracted by a giant void hole. The riverboat from the new House of Whispers shows up unexpectedly. Dora turns into a giant rage monster. Abel nearly reveals the “secret” of what Dora really is. And Merv is told to fix things, since that is his role.

I have to say that The Dreaming #2 has me thoroughly confused. I know there is a mystery going on, and that there is confusion on multiple levels for the residents of the Dreaming. I’m trusting that Spurrier is just laying out the groundwork for the story he is telling, and that eventually it’ll all make sense. But right now, it just seems like this issue only added to my lack of understanding. I’m not sure whether I should be focusing on why Dream left, where he is, and when he’ll return, or who and what Dora is. Hopefully Spurrier knows the answers and plans to reveal them in due time. I’m also hopeful that some mysteries are addressed sooner rather than later, as I don’t see myself following this series for the long haul if each mystery is answered by another mystery. I’m particularly thinking about Dream’s absence. This seems like something that needs to have resolution sometime during the first two years of this book, otherwise it becomes a distraction.

I would still recommend The Dreaming #2 by Simon Spurrier. The Sandman books are known for telling deep stories that last for multiple issues (in the case of The Sandman it was 75 issues). This is definitely a book for Sandman fans and Vertigo readers, but it may appeal to fans of fantasy stories or non-traditional comics.

I received a preview copy of this book from Vertigo and DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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