Review of: Sleepwalker # 3 Aug
Publisher: Marvel Comics in 1991
Article by: Rick Pipito
I chose this issue of Sleepwalker because it was my first introduction to the character back in the nineties. I feel he is one of the most underrated characters in the comic book universes. Reading this issue once again, years later, it has resparked my interest in seeking out more stories involving the Sleepwalker. There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you don’t want to know, then skip down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The story begins with Rick Sheridan, filming a college horror film. Rick is struggling to keep awake, because he knows that by falling asleep, he will let the Sleepwalker loose. The panels here are one of the reasons why as a younger boy I got into comics. A female actress, who just so happens to be Rick’s girlfriend, is dressed in almost nothing. She is glad for the wrap on the scene because she claims she is freezing, and it shows. The artist has her nipples drawn so far protruding, it is enough to spark any young boy’s fantasies.
I digress. Anyway, it turns out Rick has screwed up the camera work. As they are viewing the film, he is suddenly approached by the Sleepwalker as he comes out of the viewing screen. Sheridan fell asleep afterall. As he begins to freak out, the creature reassures him that he means no harm. To do so, he goes into an explanation of his origin. Yes, this is an origin story, so there isn’t a whole lot more than establishing the character in this issue, but it is done well.
Sleepwalker explains that in order for this explanation to work, Rick has to realize that this is all in his mind at the moment. If for one second, he believes that what he is seeing is any more than a dream, then it will become real… and dangerous. A few frames are shown of the memories of Sheridan’s past first. He forgets about it being a dream, and suddenly they are sucked into a vortex of sorts, but he is able to reground reality once again by forcing himself to think it.
Next we are introduced to the Mindscape. It is a dimension that links unconscious minds together. Sleepwalker is from a race that has a sole purpose of preventing evil creatures and other races from entering the vulnerable unconscious of an innocent. He goes on to explain one being that has constantly escaped banishment. The nemesis, Cobweb, is this being. Once introduced, Rick has a hard time grasping the reality/dream factor once again, and it places him and Sleepwalker under the attack of Cobweb.
It turns out that the reason Sleepwalker is trapped in Rick Sheridan’s mind is because Cobweb had tricked him into a trap there. As Sleepwalker is being beaten around by the enemy, Rick decides to use his dream to call in backup. The reinforcements are none other than dream versions of X-Factor, X-Men, Avengers and Fantastic Four members. He had the power to do so, but Rick’s quick thinking didn’t realize that he would have no control over these versions. The heroes begin attacking Sleepwalker because they believe that HE is the monster that Rick wants to get rid of.
Finally, he is able to force his mind into realizing it IS a dream, and all goes back to normal. Sleepwalker explains that he tried to get back to the mindscape, but he can’t find a way. He makes a deal with Rick that when Rick sleeps, Sleepwalker will continue to protect innocent from threats. This time however, he will do it by walking in physical reality instead of the mind. They shake hands, and part ways with Rick waking in class again.
This story, though semi-predictable at times, was different than the standard comic. The antagonist was really just the hero’s mind. For a refreshing story, I give this a 6 out of 10, and hope to be able to review more of the Sleepwalker’s adventures in the future.