Review – Lucy Dreaming #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Max Bemis
Artwork: Michael Dialynas, Colin Bell (letters)
Release Date: 21st March 2018

Lucy is a fairly regular teenager by all accounts. Perpetually glued to a book, she struggles to fit in with her peers while remaining surprisingly self-aware about the massive chip she has on her shoulder. She’s also way too smart for her own good, and is almost literally too cool for school at times, struggling to focus on what’s happening around her as her racing imagination and internal frustration refuse to let her engage with anything but stories on paper.

When she wakes up one morning with oddly glowing eyes, she puts it down to “more period bull” that she hadn’t been fully briefed on, and when she falls asleep the same night while reading one of her favourite books – “Star Saga” – only to wake up in the world of the book, she initially dismisses it as an admittedly realistic dream. However, as she quickly discovers, this is no dream. Or… is it?

Sure, the ‘child/teenager travelling into the fantasy world of the book they’re reading’ trope isn’t exactly a new one, but writer Max Bemis manages to keeps this series afloat by virtue of his fantastic leading lady. Sharp, sassy and unapologetically feminist, her insertion into the clichéd Star Wars-esque world of “Star Saga” leads to some brilliant one-liners, both from Lucy and her Y chromosomed counterpart, who comes across as equal parts Han Solo and Zap Brannigan.

The dialogue and internal narration (courtesy of Lucy’s never-to-be-published personal blog – don’t call it a diary) crackles with humour and relatability, and while this first issue is clearly preoccupied with establishing the character and the premise (and rightfully so), it feels like the ‘coming of age’ aspect of the story is definitely going to be explored in more depth as the series continues.

Visually, Michael Dialynas brings his typically expressive and vibrant work to the book, with an ostensibly cartoony style that still manages to capture the emotional and action beats of the story. His character designs are eye-catching and inventive, and there’s just something about Dialynas colouring his own work that really brings out the best in it, with a rich, pastel-shaded palette that really comes to life during the aforementioned “dreaming” sequence in the latter half of the book.

The final page adds an unexpected twist to the story that I wasn’t expecting, with Bemis and Dialynas throwing in an intriguing wrinkle which promises to take things in an entirely new direction as Lucy tries to wrap her head around the situation she finds herself in.

So, while the core concept isn’t exactly revolutionary, the execution is nothing less than impeccable, with a wonderfully relatable protagonist and some striking artwork throughout. Yet another new BOOM! Studios series to keep an eye out for then, and I absolutely can’t wait until next month to see where Lucy’s dreams take her next.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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