Writer: Sarah Vaughn / Artists: Leila Del Duca, Alissa Sallah/ Image Comics
Finally some answers!?! Sleepless has been building the tension and suspense over the first 4 issues, and now finally in Issue #5 some things are revealed. But is it too much too easily? Are we being misdirected once again? Let’s talk.
The Sleepless Eventually Sleep
So we know that soldiers take a vow to become Sleepless, thereby allowing themselves to be permanently vigilant. We’ve seen the side effects, occasional hallucinations, which seems like a pretty bad side effect, but Cyrenic seems to shrug them off. Well now we know that the Sleepless do eventually sleep — all at once. Sir Gert, Cyrenic’s mentor and the Sleepless on the King’s Council has fallen into a sleep as unto death. He will sleep for 8 years or more before he finally takes his last breath. Is that worth it? Do you have 8 years worth of dreams?
The whole magic system that is outlined in the comic — that healing or magic costs time is fascinating in our present age, when time is the most precious commodity I have. Whenever it comes up I find myself wondering, would I give up time for that? Vaughn does a fascinating job of taking that fantasy premise and connecting it to our lives, minute to minute.
The new king, Poppy’s uncle Surno, is starting to show his true colors. He reacts badly to the sleep of Sir Gert and generally makes a scene. This causes the ambassador from Mribesh to remark:
That’s not foreshadowing or anything.
After finding out that the serving girl did indeed poison her plate, for a hefty sum of silver, Poppy is on edge. She goes to visit Princess Rellen, no one’s favorite person.
In a great moment of background, the ladies in waiting whisper in the background about her skin-lightening regimen. It is a gossipy thing to overhear and just adds to the feeling of being immersed in this political, courtly world.
After some tense banter, Poppy can’t take it anymore. She calls Rellen out and accuses her of poisoning her!
It is a well done conversation, which Del Duca and Sallah infuse with motion and emotion through the art. It is great to see artists who respect these women characters and have them move and argue like two fighters, circling each other, lunging with their words and bodies. These aren’t paper dolls, they’re real people and one of them is fighting for her life.
But then, the twist!
**Redacted for Spoiling the Twist!!**
Poppy is starting to accumulate allies in this courtly world, due to her own good graces and her honesty. She’ll need them.
On the way back to her rooms, another assassination attempt! Cyrenic fights them off, with one assassin admitting with his dying breath who put him up to the task.
Now what to do?
Sleepless #5 continues to weave a unique magic system, multiple cultures, and the slow burn passion of a royal and her bodyguard into an engaging comic. I read each issue as soon as it hits my hard drive and can’t wait for the next one. This is a recommended read, for sure.