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Review – The Dreaming #8 (DC Vertigo)

Publisher: DC Vertigo
Writers: Simon Spurrier
Artwork: Abigail Larson
Colours: Quinton Winter
Letters: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 3rd April 2019


The Dreaming has always been an exploration of constants, albeit with a lot of romantic flair. Admittedly this is a little strange when you consider that it’s a story being told through the perspective of one of the group of immortal siblings called The Endless, but only through that curse of immortality can you see just how fleeting things really are in the grand scheme of the universe. Part two of “Love” continues to explore that theme this week in Simon Spurrier’s 8th issue of what has been a fantastic run.

Told once again through the eyes of another familiar face cursed with eternal life, we see just what has brought her to the bed of a vastly fading Lucien as she regains the almost mute remnant of The Dreaming with her story of loss and love. Her mother is fading fast and, to make matters worse, the love between her daughter and the Dream Lord Daniel is fading just as fast. Something unknown persuaded her to tattoo her love while he was sleeping with a strange mark that instantly caused him harm. He tries to explain but is seemingly unable, and while he tears apart from the inside the world follows suit around him. All while another faceless, endless and genderless being does everything they can to intervene in proceedings before it’s too late.

I always do my best to try not to spoil things in these reviews because I truly believe that everyone should experience reading The Dreaming for themselves. That said, these last two issues – filled with visual and multi-worded metaphors for the love, death, beginnings and ends that we all experience through life – have really struck a poetic chord with me. This was touched upon last issue with how wondrous and exciting the feeling of falling in love can be, but comes crashing down here with the inevitable decline of a relationship that has run its course.

The emotions felt are amplified through the magical abilities of the cast, which further highlights just how powerful they are in real life. We see how being harmed by the one you hold dear can create a feeling that the world is opening up and swallowing you whole. Or, in Daniel’s case, tearing itself apart. We also see just how difficult it is to open up about pain, and how impactful two words like “I’m fine,” can be when you know they’re simply not true.

But it’s not just this. Spurrier explores issues like the non-binary identification of characters who were personifying it long before it was part of the cultural lexicon through his chosen wording of a particular character’s dialogue. This is emphasised further by the subtly stunning choice of Larson’s art to not show their face which, both shows this fluidity and adds to the intrigue of the plot.

One particular panel stood out for me with the death of one of the characters. In something so powerful you’d be forgiven for making it a large centrepiece, but in choosing to show just a few characters around a small form and only a few floating words shows again the juxtaposition of its meaningfulness and the sad truth that this happens every day. The art allows the reader to imagine what happens between the panels by simply not depicting everything described in the story. It’s a very interesting technique that I’ve only really known in film or books before but one that I always feel makes you closer to the story by letting you fill in your own blanks, with the sublime art providing the backdrop of your imagination.

Another chapter ends in The Dreaming, but we’ve been treated to two issues of content worth at least two novel’s worth of material here.

Rating: 5/5.


[PREVIEW ARTWORK]






The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy


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