Sleep is rooted with disorders known as parasomnias. Nightmares, sleepwalking, talking, physically attacking a bedpartner, night terrors… these and more fall under that category, making sleep the perfect vehicle for a disconcerting and thrilling comic. But, with Cullen Bunn at the helm, you never know where that comic might take you. For Parasomnia, a three-issue series from Dark Horse, he’s teamed up with Andrea Mutti to bring readers the ultimate split-world mystery.
The basic premise of Parasomnia is that a man searching for his son is swept into a dark, fantasy dream world that somewhat mirrors reality. His wife is also searching, and there are evil cultists lurking in the background, ready to take their son from them forever.
Parasomnia #1 left readers riddled with questions. Bunn refused to even leave us with names for the characters, let alone give us solid clues as to what was happening. It was easy to get sucked into the story, even if I was unsure what the story was. The blurb for the comic even gave more information than the comic itself – like the mention of an insidious cult. With only tidbits of the story revealed, it shouldn’t work, but, somehow, the tactic of “less is more” worked exceedingly well, so much so that I couldn’t wait to dive into issue #2 to find out what was happening.
Just as with issue #1, the fantasy world is rife with heart-pounding action and stressful conversation, while the real world provides much-needed breathers to the tension. What might be viewed as slow is necessary to keep the flow while dragging the reader into the depression of losing a child. It’s easy to get swept up in the pain of the parents, then jump over to the fantasies of revenge missions. The fantasy world is perfectly written with beautiful art, courtesy of Andrea Mutti. His art throughout is gorgeous, muted with the perfect amount of color to convey the darkness of the tale. In the real world, the sadness carries through each panel. Without his talents, it would be difficult to pull off the split worlds.
The brilliance of the first issue carried over so naturally to the second issue. Bunn feeds the reader a bit more information, even handing out a couple of character names, yet he leaves the story shrouded in so much mystery, ramping up until a shocking cliffhanger of an ending. It’s a credit to Bunn’s writing ability that he can create something so enigmatic, hold back so much from the reader, and yet still capture them in his net of suspicion.
What is reality and what is just a dream — and will the fantasy world take over? Who exactly are all of the players in both worlds? Why is the boy so important to evil forces and the faceless queen? These are questions to be answered in the last installment.
Creative Team: Cullen Bunn (Script), Andrea Mutti (Art and Colors, Standard Cover Artist), Simon Bowland (Letters), Malachi Ward (Variant Cover Artist), Cullen Bunn & Andrea Mutti (Creators)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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