By Ben Snyder
Another entry into the Sleepless series another peek into the fantastical world these characters inhibit. While Sleepless #2 focuses more so on the politics of this universe, the few tidbits of information we get regarding the world, and it’s varying inhabitants and organizations definitely do the story justice and flesh out a much larger and intricate universe that one would initially assume.
The main story in this issue is very formulaic. Pyppenia feels unsafe in the kingdom due to the failed assassination attempt on her and pleads desperately to the new king, Surno, to allow her to go home. Surno want Pyppenia to remain in his kingdom in order to protect her and befriend his bratty daughter, Princess Rellen. Meanwhile, Cyrenic is tasked with representing the Sleepless Order in the upcoming Tournament. Both heroes, Pyppenia and Cyrenic begrudgingly accept.
Normally, that bare-bones plot would bore me, but due to writer Sarah Vaughn’s work on exploring the world, individuals, and beliefs of Sleepless, I am vehemently entranced and along for the wide. Vaughn doesn’t bludgeon the reader over the head with a wordy exposition dump; instead, we are left breadcrumbs of information to piece together. Because of this method, I am constantly craving more information on the Sleepless Order, Mribesh and it’s seemingly matriarchal power structure, as well as how their belief in “The Stars” differs from Harbeny’s belief in “Time.” This method also allows the world of Sleepless to grow organically. Hopefully, as the story continues, we will eventually see more different places and locals as well.
I love the subtle hint that some members of the Sleepless order go a bit crazy due to the lack of sleep. I find it very interesting that the members willfully take a pledge to be sleepless as I thought it was more of an orphan’s were forced into it type of deal. I am pleased to see there are realistic ramifications to such a pledge as well such as hallucinations and overall exhaustion. It seems obvious that Cyrenic will be afflicted with some of these ailments. I wonder if it will become so severe that he actually sleeps. Regardless, it shall be interesting to play out.
The actual script can be a bit clunky at times. I understand that Sleepless is supposed to take place in a time modeled after old England with kings and queens and what not, but some things the characters say seem particularly clunky and cumbersome.
The quality of the art is phenomenal in this issue. I mentioned in my review for the first issue how the storybook quality of the art really benefits the story and it still rings true in the second issue. There are a couple of standout scenes in this issue that really stand out due to artists Leila Del Luca’s ability to convey emotion. One of which is when Pyppenia is in court in front of the king. The restrained horror she shows on her face when Surno asks her to befriend his daughter is perfect and it really sells how much a brat Rellen must be.
I do have a slight problem with some of the lettering in this issue though. For one, the note that Pyppenia’s mother writes to her is written incredibly lightly. It has a faded quality that makes it pretty difficult to read especially because it’s in elaborate cursive. Another issue was when Pyppenia is whispering with Lord Otranto. The dialogue is almost illegible due to the lightness in color and size of the font. I understand that they’re whispering so the font would be smaller, but I feel as though this is taking it a bit extreme.
Sleepless #2 is a deeper dive into a promisingly elaborate and extravagant tale. It’s not an incredibly deep story so far, I wouldn’t be expecting to many philosophical metaphors about morality or what it means to be human, but so far it’s a pretty damn good fairy tale.