It’s not really fair to judge a comic by its first issue. That’s the one everyone spends extra time and effort on to make a great first impression. So when I find a great second issue, that bodes well for enjoying a comic for the long run.
Sleepless #1 set up the basics of the premise; in this second issue, Sarah Vaughn and Leila del Duca expand on the premise by showing us Princess Poppy trying to find out who’s behind the attempt on her life, in spite of her plans to leave court quietly being thwarted.
While there’s plenty of satisfying intrigue, the creators also make time for the right moments of mood. For example, they open with a wordless page showing the knight watching over the princess as she sleeps. It’s a quiet introduction to a chapter that otherwise moves quickly, playing with the themes of rest and protection. The setting quickly opens up to the harbor and more characters are introduced, peopling a full world.
Small distinctions in language become significant; I’m sure they will have deeper meaning as the story progresses. The kingdom where Poppy resides wishes “time has kept you well” while the visitors from her mother’s land talk of “stars watching over you”. The phrases are meant to be rote to the characters, much like our “how do you do?”, but they promise much to the curious reader, particularly since Poppy’s mother is much respected as a great star reader (and savvy politician).
I’m intrigued and eager to see who’s behind the machinations and what the true motives are of the court members. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)