By Sarah Vaughn, Leila Del Duca, Allisa Sallah, Deron Bennett, Gabe Fischer, Shanna Mutuszak
The second installment of Sleepless is here, bringing more royal intrigue and suspense…
After an enticing and excellent opening chapter, this issue serves to provide more background to our heroine and her ever-vigilant bodyguard. Poppy is concerned for her safety at the castle in Harbeny, and learning that her mother has not returned from their homeland as planned, she instead plans to go to her mother rather than risk her life.
However, asking the newly throned king and her “uncle” for permission to leave, she is denied and ordered to stay as a consort to the new and “official” princess. Poppy is naturally horrified at both the demotion and the ongoing threat against her life that the royal court seems to relish.
Sir Cyrenic tries to console her, yet he himself is asked to participate in a tournament of knights which will require him to leave Poppy in the care of others.
We learn more of the sleepless curse, how in exchange for foregoing sleep, when the knights are relieved of it the time they have missed sleeping suddenly ages them decades ahead. It’s a nice little twist on time, the knights are almost chronologically “frozen” when they’re young and strong, but the time they miss not sleeping still accumulates. It also takes a physiological toll on them while under the curse, as it strains their “spirit” never sleeping or resting while fulfilling their duty.
We also learn more of Poppy’s family and culture, and why the residents of Harbeny may be less than welcoming to the idea of her on the royal court. Small details which may come into play later, but for now they do flesh out the character’s backstory.
The artwork by Del Duca and Sallah continues its impressive quality, although because there isn’t action in the story, storytelling becomes much more important. It’s a testament to the artists then that the events aren’t portrayed as boring. There’s the rich scenery of the castle, the bustling nature of the docks of Harbeny, even the brief scenes of Sir Cyrenic watching over Poppy as she sleeps. There’s a playful whimsy to the artwork, lush and colorful to its approach which fits the subject matter.
It’s difficult for many series to come back from such great debuts on the second installment, but Sleepless remains an engaging read in spite of a much more personal tale of dialogue and introspection. The forthcoming issues promise more in the way of excitement, but I’m also looking forward to how Poppy deals with her new status in the royal family and if we gain any clues as to who is planning her assassination.
Disclosure: Publisher Image Comics provided a review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site and publisher or agreement on the review’s content.