Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art and Colors: Andrea Mutti
Letters: Simon Bowland
Standard Cover: Andrea Mutti
Cover B: Benjamin Dewey
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 17th, 2022
Cullen Bunn and Andrew Mutti’s high concept exploration of dreams returns. Get lost in a world created by the unconscious thoughts of dreamers and follow desperate parents searching for their children.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Parasomnia: The Dreaming God #1 Review.
PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 picks up more or less where the first mini-series unceremoniously ended last year. In the dream world the Nameless Man continues to search for his son, confronting those loyal to the Faceless Queen along the way. In the present Fenny continues to hide Leo, and Leo’s parents Grover and Annette look for him in their separate ways.
The primary setting in PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 is a cyberpunk future. The unnamed man and his companion Kahnawake transition into the new dream world setting on the first page. The two characters never comment on this change, behaving as though they had never been anywhere else. This reads like a reflection on the shifting nature of dreams–how the nature of what the dreamer is experiencing can change at any given time without explanation or understanding.
Shared dreams, a concept mentioned by Leo’s father in the previous series, appears to be the return in this issue. The implication in the first PARASOMNIA was that Leo, being kept unconscious by Fenny (the likely Faceless Queen), was the dreamer responsible for the world the Nameless Man inhabited. The final page of PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 introduces the possibility that someone else has begun to experience the dreams Leo is having. Shared dreaming, while not having a scientific basis, is a concept with a basis in multiple spiritual belief systems.
These ideas remain as interesting as they were in the first PARASOMNIA series, and the curiosity factor entices further reading. But like the previous series, this issue has virtually no character development and what little there is is confined to the dream world. We learn nothing new about Fenny’s motives or goals. Grover and Annette remain two dimensional, with no new revelations about either. And what little more we discover about the Nameless Man is entirely secondary to the plot he’s a part of. Ultimately the only reason the characters are compelling in PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 is because the story of a kidnapped child plays on our emotions. Beyond that there is little to connect with.
Without a doubt the best part of PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 is the same thing that was the best part about the first PARASOMNIA series: the art. Mutti uses the same watercolor-esque style. This creates an ethereal quality, both in the dream world and the real world. In a way this adds to the big ideas Bunn is exploring with the narrative.
Mutti also succeeds in making the new cyberpunk landscape easily recognizable. And as the colonial era dream world was visually distinct from the real world with a predominantly brown focused color palette, so too is the cyberpunk dream world distinct from the other previous two established worlds with a yellow-green and gray-blue focus.
PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 is a high concept comic not unlike the issues that preceded it, and like those issues it benefits from multiple readings. The greater the interest in these concepts, the more likely a reader is to want to continue the series. And certainly Mutti’s art helps as it contributes to the immersion. The visuals are definitely a key selling point that elevates the book.. Nevertheless it’s hard to care about characters we know little about which makes it difficult to stay interested in them.