Freddy Krueger is one of my favorite characters in the whole world. The idea of a serial killer that could haunt you in your nightmares fascinated me because he is unstoppable. Everyone else you can shoot, bury or send to outer space to get rid of them. But not Freddy. I was always afraid of someone or something haunting my dreams, a place where you can’t escape: your mind. Yes, I know this review is not about movies or Freddy. Please be patient. I’m getting there.
What if there was a dream detective? Someone that could help you against the likes of Freddy; and other nightmare creatures and demons that torment your nights? Would you be interested in seeing this fight? Now that I got your attention, I present the world of Slumber #1 by Tyler Burton Smith, Vanessa Cardinali, Simon Robins, and Steve Wands.
Seven bodies. Seven different killers. Everyone claims they were asleep when they committed the crime. The crime scene has a bunch of strange symbols and a message on the wall: I seek the dream eater. That’s all the police have to catch what seems to be a serial killer. On the other side of town, Stetson, a dream detective, and her team are entering the nightmare of a man. Using cutting-edge technology, they can access his subconscious and battle what’s tormenting him so he can sleep peacefully. How are the murders and Stetson related?
First, I wanted to address Stetson as the protagonist. You instantly fall in love with her when you meet her. She is a total badass that exudes confidence, but on the inside, she has all these insecurities and fears for everything she has seen while haunting nightmares. She also has a troubled past that may come back and haunt her. Because of her complexity and epicness, she steals every page she is on.
The idea of going inside a person’s consciousness is not new, but the added value is that the creators do not hold back. The dreams presented get weird, explicit, funny, terrifying. They are the real deal. Inside the dream world, the only limit is imagination. These are the best pages of the book and where the art excels: the dreams are captivating, detailed, and designed uniquely for each mind. The cherry on top is the beautiful contrast between the colorful, bright, and fun dreamworld and the blues and grays used to depict the dark, real world.
In its 30+ pages, Issue #1 introduces the whole dream detective concept, giving us a detailed exploration of what Stetson does. A day at her work. It also hints at what is happening with the police and the murders. Sometimes, the first issues focus on characters, and they don’t give you enough story to care about the next thing. Others focus too much on setting up a plot, but the characters are plain and unentertaining. This one is the perfect balance of great characterization and world-building.
In conclusion, Slumber is a murder mystery with a twist. The fight is happening in the real world and the dream world. It mixes many familiar concepts to create a fun, fast-paced, and colorful story filled with suspense and horror. An unexpected but successful mix that quickly catches your attention. And as I mentioned earlier, Stetson is potentially your next favorite character. Because of this, it is a solid choice for new readers. With that said, I hope tonight I get front-row seats for a Freddy vs. Stetson movie inside my head.