By Ben Snyder
While I initially had exceedingly high hopes for Sleepless as a series, some of the luster has worn off. It’s not that Sleepless #3 is a bad issue or it destroys the hope I once harbored for it- it’s just that Sleepless has not done anything new with the subject manner yet and it doesn’t seem intent to. Writer Sarah Vaughn and artist Leila Del Luca barely meet the standards they set for themselves in earlier issues and even add an interesting story wrinkle or two, but ultimately it is not enough to maintain the same level of interest or excitement in the future of this series.
My main complaint with Sleepless #3 is the events of the tournament. All of it seemed inconsequential until the last scene. Even Pyppenia giving the princess’s cousin favor for the tournament seemed pointless and only in the story to rile up Cyrenic. More importantly, this decision was stupid and not very well thought out, as I assumed you would discuss her situation with Cyrenic before the tournament. Cyrenic knows that Poppy needs to gain favor with the princess in order to stay in the castle, so why wouldn’t he assume that she gave the princesses’ cousin favor for her own benefit? Not only that, but he doesn’t allow Lord Helder to win because it breaks a promise he made with Poppy to not let any harm come to here. It’s sweet and chivalrous sure. But it’s a trope and plot mechanic we have seen time and time again, but Vaughn does not do anything new to it.
I also don’t have much to think about the princess as a character. She seems pretty one-note as of now, and that note isn’t a particularly nice one. She acts like a spoiled brat who only recently realized that all of her friends are fake and shallow which is fair. The main offense to her character is that we simply aren’t given enough time with her in order to sympathize.
It’s interesting to see how the sleepless vow affects Cyrenic. Watching his mind wander to events in the past not only illustrate how easy it is to lose focus when you haven’t slept in years but also illuminate the depths of caring Cyrenic has for Poppy’s family. I wonder what other side effects of being without sleep for so long will Cyrenic experience and if it will ever result in him taking a catnap. It also brings up the larger point of how odd a sleepless vow is in order to protect someone. People need rest in order to stay sharp mentally and physically so wouldn’t you want your one bodyguard to be at his physical and mental peak? Maybe there is something more to the vow that has not been elaborated on yet, but the longer we go without it, the worse the vow continues to become.
Del Luca’s serves its purpose throughout the issue. Del Luca’s faces, when seen from a distance, are a particularly low point to the story, as often they seem phoned in with only dots for eyes and a mouth. The storybook quality of the style is losing its effectiveness, and more blemishes are becoming visible. Speaking of blemishes, what the hell is going on with the princess’s face? Initially I thought I had scratches on my screen, but then I realized that she just has bad acne (I guess). It only amplifies the already low quality of the detail throughout the story. Otherwise the art is adequate and not overtly offensive or poorly drawn. It’s just all right.
Which I guess is a decent enough summation of the issue- All right. Sleepless #3 is not going to wow you in any particular facet. But it’s enough to keep you hoping the next issue is better.