Welcome one and all to another MDM Projects comic review. Today, I’ll be delving back into the world of David Lillie’s Disney-gone-dark creations with Dreamkeepers Volume 2: Flight to Starfall. David was kind enough to put the word out about my volume one review, and for that I am very grateful. Here’s hoping you all enjoy this one just as much.
Background: As per the intro page, this volume of Dreamkeepers came after the dissolution of the original publishing partnership that volume 1 was conceived under. Free of the constraints put in place, and able to push forward how he wished, David paired up with his fiancé-to-be Liz Thomas and together, they turned out a book that would not have seen the light of day with the original publisher (they wanted the story altered to be more child friendly). The copy I own is again the 2010 Vivid Publishing edition. The book has 104 full colour pages and covers chapters four to six plus some bonus material.
Picking up where book one left off, we rejoin the world with multiple threads open. Tinsel is a-scheming, our young heroes (Mace, Lilith, Namah and Whip) are under the protection of Igrath and his crew, and the building trouble has gone beyond the point of brewing and run squarely into the ‘in-action’ stage.
The Good: Volume Two does a great job of expanding the Dreamkeepers Universe. As well as introducing a handful of new characters, we also get to visit a number of new locations. A wonderful side effect of this is that David has been able to really play with the use of colour. Seriously, if you enjoyed the visual quality of volume one, you’ll love this. Not content with simply settling for using some interesting designs for the new entrants in the ensemble cast, the use of multiple locations means that the opportunity is there for David to show what he can do with lighting. And take that opportunity he does. From the bright blue hue of the icy planes to the sepia world of Igrath’s home base, from scenic rainbow tinted picturesque scenes to the dark red shades of the realm of the villainous Nabonidus, the colour work here is a superb example of an artist who is improving as they go.
Another thing to note in terms of the art is that there is a great amount of detail in play, and not just in the static backdrops. The city scenes include a fair few background characters, and while they’re simplified in comparison to the characters that you’re supposed to focus on in the foreground, they are far from neglected. The book does not resort colour swapped palettes for busy scenes, but rather seems to use them as an excuse to experiment with different design ideas. Meanwhile, though she arguably wears less than any other character, a fair amount of attention to detail has been given to the folds of Tinsel’s clothing too, giving them an unexpected sense of realism in the fantastical world.
Writing wise, book one was strong. Book two is much the same, but is perhaps a little tidier. Having moved beyond the set-up of the first volume though, things start to move quickly and we get to learn a little more about both the plans in motion and some other little things like the tech available in the Dreamkeepers world. In particular, I liked the way the book began to hint at a revolutionary-slash-political plotline running underneath the main character arcs. That’s not to say that the book relies entirely on long conversations though. Throughout the chapters, the action comes hard and fast, and you never get the feeling that you’re standing still for too long.
From a personal standpoint, I found Namah and Mace’s interactions in this volume to be wonderfully entertaining. There’s something about them that ensures that they bring the best out of each other in terms of characterisation, and that’s a definite positive. Meanwhile, the newly introduced Indigo Twins also deserve a shout-out. They have a sense of fun to them to puts me in mind of a cross between The Cat Sisters of Dominion Tank Police and Kei and Yuri, the leads of Dirty Pair Flash.
The Bad: The things that I said regarding volume one still apply here, as does the fact that they aren’t really hugely negative things. If I’m being picky, I thought that the nightmare that Mace encountered towards the end of volume one was a bit scarier than the beasty from this one. The design work is still interesting here, it just wasn’t as scary for me personally. That’s a minor thing though.
Final View: Dreamkeepers Volume 2 takes everything that was good about Volume 1 and improves upon it. From the story to the art, the progression is clear, and it makes for a satisfying read. If you enjoyed the first entry in the series, this this one will make sure that Dreamkeepers gets its claws in deeper. If you weren’t entirely sold by volume 1, then there’s still a chance that this’ll get you over the hump. The saga continues smoothly here, and long may it do so.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5
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