Welcome one and all to another MDM Projects comic review. In keeping with the recent theme, I’m continuing with Dreamkeepers and going with Dreamkeepers Volume 4: Descent to the Archives.
Background: Covering chapters 10 – 13 and spanning a whopping 128 full colour pages (including bonus material), Dave and Liz Lillie’s story marches on here with not only the main group of kids getting plenty of time, but the political machinations of the world getting some more build. Does this help or hinder the tale? Let’s find out.
The Good: I’m going to address the question raised above immediately. When it comes to politics, Dreamkeepers has always made it clear that there are all sorts of things going on. What this book does is bring that to the forefront for a spell, thanks to Igrath and his underground group. What you have to remember here is that these people are embarking on a secret war of sorts, and as such, things are never going to be easy. How does that manifest? The good guys get nasty. And I mean really nasty, especially when it comes to a poisoning plot. For some characters, this starts to become too much, but for others, it’s merely a part of their day to day lives right now. This in itself is a very effective way of showing the grey area in what needs to be done to secure peace. While that may sound like it has the potential to derail moral support from the reader, there is also plenty to remind us why they have to act this way. In particular, the climax to the book sees us getting a good look at both Vi and Igrath in action as they tackle a bothersome rhyming nightmare. Yes, morality is still in question, but the targeted end result is still a good one. What the reader is left to decide is whether the god guys are going too far.
The kids of course get to advance their own individual plotlines too. One thing I was happy to see was that Bast was given a little more time again, this time in the form of a harrowing flashback to his mother. In the meantime, the kids’ powers are also beginning to awaken. Given the amount of action in this volume, that’s no bad thing, as things are escalating relatively quickly now. Elsewhere, Wisp continues to be an absolute hoot, and I really can’t help but feel that she’s a far way from evil despite her allegiance.
I know I’ve praised the art in each review, so I won’t bang on about it too much here. All I’ll say is that the high standards of volume 3 have continued, complete with some beautiful use of different degrees of lighting to enhance the overall effect of each set piece. From the characters (both in design and posing) to the backdrops, nothing is wasted.
The Bad: As always, the only potentially stumbling block is one that comes down to personal taste. We’re back to the brutality and blood here, and the darker themes are really out in force. While I enjoy the story myself, I do know that some prefer an easier going tale. By this point though, if you’re still reading, the chances are you know what you’re getting and have no issue with it.
Final View: While the end result here is that volume 4 comes to a satisfying conclusion, there are still a lot of questions left unanswered, so there’s plenty to keep the intrigue going. This natural progression combined with a great shift in story focus and some continued art quality make this my favourite of the volumes currently available. If you’ve enjoyed what’s been going on so far, I can’t imagine that you’ll be disappointed with this addition to the franchise and, like me, you’re probably itching for volume 5 already.
Final Score: 5 / 5
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