Sleepless #1 Review: Jane Austen but Royal and Boring

Sleepless #1
4 / 10 Reviewer
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Summary
Writer: Sarah Vaughn, Artist: Leila del Duca, Color Artist: Alissa Sallah, Letters: Deron Bennett, Cover by: Leila del Duca Variant Cover by: Jen Bartel, Color Flats: Gabe Fischer, Production: Shanna Matuszak Editor: Alissa Sallah, Publisher: Image Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

In a kingdom, there is a princess named Pyppenia. She is protected by a Sleepless Knight named Cyrenic. She goes to coronation of the new king, whom is her uncle Surno. Pyppenia, or “Poppy,” is the daughter of a former king now dead. There is tension with the new king taking the throne, and there are dangers yet to be revealed.

Sleepless #1 cover by Leila del Duca
Sleepless #1 cover by Leila del Duca

Sleepless looks to establish new fantasy series. How mystical it will turn out to be remains to be seen. There is reference to healing magic and the “sleepless” in Sleepless Knight seems to be literal.

Poppy is a fairly entertaining character for sure. However, in terms of opening presentations, this one was lackluster. There is a lot of exposition and world-building. We learn the state of the kingdom and the relationship between Poppy and Cyrenic, which seems to be something more than just knight and lady. That’s all we’re given until the last few pages and, by then, I’m not really compelled to care about the climax.

It’s not dumb or contrived. It’s just vanilla. The lead seems slightly intriguing, but she’s not enough to get me to issue two. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything in the comic that could drive one forward to issue two.

Admittedly, this is one of those comics that doesn’t feel made for me. It strikes me as being something for people who enjoy Downton Abbey. It’s Jane Austen, but with royalty instead of old money. At least, that’s what this issue is, and that’s what the comic seems to be promising. I can get behind the political intrigue of Game of Thrones, and I certainly see the value of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen, but I don’t see me sitting down with Lord Robert Crawley or Elizabeth Bennett for fun anytime soon. As such, I will cop to the fact that this may just not be made for me.

The art is very good though. Leila del Duca imbues the world with a lot of detail and texture. The eyes of the Sleepless Knight were especially grabbing. Emotion seems to be another specialty of del Duca, as the characters are able to express themselves greatly throughout the comic. Alissa Sallah’s colorwork is excellent too, and the world is made to be extremely colorful and eye-catching. Contrasts are played with a lot too.

Sleepless is unfortunately quite dull. While there may be something there to be offered in later issues, this first one does not sell me well on the prospect. When I compare it to something like Giant Days, which is a dialogue-focused comic that explodes with personality and character, Sleepless just doesn’t measure up. I can’t recommend it. Though the lead has potential and the art is gorgeous, it just didn’t give me enough to evoke excitement or intrigue. Give this one a pass with the caveat that it also may just not be made for me.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.