Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Todd Nauck and Rachelle Rosenberg are the dream behind the return of Marvel’s 90s beloved cult-classic Sleepwalker in INFINITY WARS: Sleepwaker.
Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker #1
Written by: Chad Bowers and Chris Sims
Art by: Todd Nauck
Colors by: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Deep within the mind of Rick Sheridan is a mysterious being—a guardian of the Mindscape, the dimension that borders on the minds of all intelligent life. And when Rick sleeps, the being walks—into Rick’s world, where this Sleepwalker continues his noble mission to use his powers to strike fear in the hearts of Earthen evildoers everywhere
Writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims clearly love the 90s. Bowers worked on Youngblood for Image, and the duo previously collaborated on the fun and (sadly) short-lived X-Men ’92. Now, they set their sights on Sleepwalker and their affection for the character, concept and time period easily leaps off the page. Right from the start, we get tons of 90s Marvel references; Silhouette makes an appearance and Hummingbird and the New Warriors get named dropped. It makes for some nice easter egg moments for long-time fans. They also throw in a nice new detail of Rick learning to mediate from Doctor Strange to access the Mindscape, something that is a total no-brainer.
However, strong knowledge of this history is not needed as Bowers and Sims (using a cool narrative technique of Sleepwalker’s host Rich Sheridan making a documentary on C-listers) give readers plenty of set up as to how Sleepwalker and Rick fit into the 616 universe. We do get a little exposition on the mythology of the Mindscape, but it’s done in Sleepwalker’s own words so it’s not jarring or overly cold.
But this isn’t just a Sleepwalker book, so how it ties into the current Infinity Wars event is important and on that front the book also delivers. The writers cleverly tie the realm of the Mindscape with the Mindstone, making the Sleepwalker an important player in the fight against Gamora and the Infinity Stones. It’s here that things get really fun as a couple of the Infinity Warp characters are named checked and pulled into the story; we get Man-Thing Thang Thoom (trying saying it three times!), Dark Starhawk, and the fantastic Little Monster, an Ant-Man/Hulk warp where ‘Scotty Banner’ gets smaller AND stronger as he gets angrier. Fucking fantastic.
Todd Nauck was a great choice as penciler for this book. Not only is he a seasoned pro, but he also has the right mix of the cartoonish and grit a surreal title like this needs. Nauck, along with colorist Rachelle Rosenberg creates some great psychedelic images and layouts. The use of stark white for the interactions between Rick and the Sleepwalker was also a great choice; it helps cement how strong the bond between these to is by virtue of them being the only images on the panel/page. It’s a solid looking book that has a classic comic feel, yet still capitalizes on newer and slicker coloring techniques. It has a unique vibe.
Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker is not the regular tie-in to an event. It feels important to the larger story, yet it’s also clear the creative team wants to tell a tale of their own as well. Grab this book today.