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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Dreamer #1, published by IDW, 32 pages, $3.99


Ah, high school life. Many of us have been there. Best friends. Crushes. Drama auditions. Nightly dreams that take place during the American Revolution....

Okay, that last one might not be common place for most. But for 17-year-old Bea Whaley, it is. What’s more, she finds herself falling for a man who is a regular cast member in her dreams.

Right away, I see that The Dreamer has great potential to draw young female readers to comics. I also see that it’s not a “girl comic”. Confused? No need to be, as you will soon see.

The Dreamer is well-constructed from the bottom, up. So, what’s the “bottom” for a comic book story, you ask? Characterization, dear reader, what else? If readers don’t care about a character, why should they invest in a story? As with any structure, without a good foundation, everything else falls apart. And EVERYONE likes great characters, gender notwithstanding.

Thanks to writer/artist Lora Innes, that characterization is accompanied by an engaging, dramatic plot, and more. “And more? What’s THAT mean?” Well, the plot takes place primarily in the dream, and I’m not going to spoil it for you. Bea’s every day life, however, has the “feel” of a situation comedy. In it, she shares her dream with her girlfriends, decides how to deal with her long-time crush having competition from a dream-suiter, spars verbally with a facetious cousin, and..., well, you get the idea. It makes for a satisfyingly humorous read.

Innes’ art work does not have a polished, professional look. It does, however, have a bold, clean line, lends wonderful expression to the cast members, and is utilized quite successfully in switching from modern day to tales of old. All in all, it helps make this a comic book that is unique and entertaining.

The Dreamer is recommended for teen readers and up. Find it at your local comics shop, online retailers and auctions, and at www.idwpublishing.com.

Review by Mark Allen