Slumber #1 Review

Writer: Tyler Burton Smith
Art: Vanessa Cardinali and Simon Robins
Letterer:  Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 16th, 2022

Slumber #1 begins a story that’s both a chilling police procedural and a horror story dealing with a creature invading people’s nightmares.  It’s like a combination of the films “Seven” and “Nightmare on Elm Street”, but ultimately not as interesting as either of them.

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 Slumber #1 Review.

The Story

A book’s greatness is defined by how fascinating the main characters are, and Slumber #1 introduces characters that are only mildly interesting.

The central character of the book is Stetson, a self-titled “Dream Healer” who people hire to kill the monster in their recurring nightmares.  She does so, entering their dreamscape with a shotgun and various other weapons, dispatching the monster, and collecting a fat paycheck.

Stetson is like a reverse Freddy Krueger.  Instead of invading the dreamscape to create nightmares, Stetson enters to destroy them.  In one section of the issue, we get an 80’s style montage of Stetson dealing with multiple clients’ nightmares.

At times, she deviates from her usual “kill on sight” method, at one point even having a steamy sexual rendezvous with one of the monsters, who looks exactly like David Bowie’s character Jareth the Goblin King from the film “Labyrinth”.   Can’t blame her for that one.

Looming over the book is the “Dream Eater”, a demonic being that possesses people and causes them to commit murder, turning them into serial killers.  When it tires of one body, it jumps into another one and keeps on truckin’.

The issue begins with a detective duo investigating the latest murder caused by a possessed person.  They’re the typical cliché detectives, and they have no idea of the magnitude of what’s going on.  So much of the issue is spent with Stetson, that the detectives come off as bland and flat because we get to know nothing about them.  By the end of the issue, it’s inevitable that their paths will cross with Stetson, so hopefully, at that point, they’ll be fleshed out more.  Maybe Stetson will enter their nightmares so we can see what makes them tick?

The Art

I wasn’t a fan of Vanessa Cardinali’s art on Slumber #1, which was akin to Skottie Young’s cartoony style.  It doesn’t really fit the theme of the book.  I’ve always felt that art style was more suited to comedy books or light-hearted adventure books, and honestly, I’ve never liked Skottie Young’s style.
On the plus side, there are a couple of comical moments that are enhanced by Vanessa’s style, but other scenes that are meant to be chilling and horrific are drained of any terror because of the art style.

Final Thoughts

Slumber #1 begins a series with an interesting premise, but the characters are lacking.  Hopefully, as the story progresses, we’ll get something deeper than an inevitable “Dream Healer” versus “Dream Eater” slugfest.


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