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An intriguing premise and phenomenal artwork keep Parasomnia #2 aloft despite its disappointingly exposition-laden plot reveals.
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Review: Nightmares and Dreamscapes in PARASOMNIA #2

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From writer Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, Bone Parish) and artist Andrea Mutti comes the second engaging issue of Parasomnia. This horror comic’s unique plot and intriguing character writing is unfortunately bogged down by mystery-killing exposition. Held aloft by phenomenal art however, this is still absolutely a comic worth checking out.

“In a twisted dream world, a nameless stranger battles nightmares in his hunt for his missing son–while in the waking world, the boy’s parents find their lives falling apart under the onslaught of hopelessness and insidious cultists.”

Writing & Plot

Cullen Bunn sets out to expand on the lore he set up in the prior issue with Parasomnia #2. This chapter lifts the curtain with the aid of great pacing and smart parallels between this comic’s two realities. There is never a moment where it becomes confusing as to what is going on or what world we’re in. Bunn does a stellar job of differing stylistically when he writes each reality. The character focuses and speech range drastically as we swap from one world to another. This seals the concept of us jumping through time and hopping between the real and the dream world.  Bunn’s characters are all compelling and make the reader desperately want to know more about what has happened and why they are all searching for the same missing boy.

Unfortunately, Bunn uncovers much of this story’s mystery in this issue through gobs of textbook exposition. We are introduced to a character in the “past” that essentially functions as a guide for this timeline’s protagonist. He isn’t a bad character by any stretch. It is just disappointing to see this story take the easy way out in discovering this universe’s rules. Hopefully this issue is ironed out in later chapters, and our new character is given more purpose.

Art Direction

Andrea Mutti’s artwork in Parasomnia #2 is nothing short of astounding. His pencils and inks bring characters to life with detailed expression and animation. We can read the expressions of fear, desperation, and determination easily in these characters. The attention he pays to elements in the world, such as setting and clothing, is top notch. Mutti successfully crafts these two timelines with fantastic attention to detail and pulls readers into the story with ease. His colors are perfect for the reality-bending comic story we get here. Every page feels like Mutti somehow turned fog into an ink and spread it over every panel. This murky aesthetic nails the wandering dreamtime setting this story lives in.

Mutti also tends to bathe his pages in a single hue, often based on its setting. There’s a present day scene in a therapist’s office that’s bathed in green sunlight. When we switch to the past era however, the pages are all colored in a sort of burnt parchment hue. I found this to be a great touch, as it sells the 18th century setting this dream is supposedly set. The lettering from Simon Bowland is solid and simple. He uses a contemporary font that disappears into the reading experience. This is a fantastic looking comic, with visuals that perfectly create the dream-state atmosphere.

Verdict

Parasomnia #2 is a mostly engaging read with  great pacing and phenomenal art. Bunn’s script is unique and mysterious, but gets bogs itself down with exposition that cheapens the story’s delivery. Andrea Mutti’s art is rife with detail and crafts a perfect atmosphere for this eerie comic. Be sure to grab this issue, on shelves today!

 

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.