The Dream Merchant #1 is a hefty issue, coming in at just shy of 50 pages; it covers a lot of ground, setting up Winslow's past and the details of his recurring dream. While Winslow himself is a rather dry character, his supporting cast is fantastic. Ziggy, his schizophrenic best friend, tells it like it is, and his off-the-wall comments due to his illness and his wry observations are endlessly amusing. Annie, the girl with quite the crush on Winslow, seems rather plain at first but really surprised me with her background, open-mindedness, and attitude when she is given the opportunity to leave her dull life behind. I relish the opportunity to see more of Annie and watch her grow as the comic progresses.
The art in this book is excellent. It sets a great pace, delivers excellent character interactions, and gives the out-of-this-world elements a great look and feel. I'm a big fan of how The Dream Merchant makes use of color, which feels almost symbolic in a way. The dream world's pink and red colors seem tied in all matters of the dream world and emotions while the institute is a series of blues, very cold and unfeeling. The world outside the institute and dreams is dull and plain looking by comparison.
Best of all, this issue has a satisfying end, having told a complete story and set-up so many questions about the world and what is going to happen to Winslow and the others going forward.
Four Lucid Dreams for Half Off Out of Five