Hermes Press 2016
Written by M. Zachary Sherman
Illustrated by J. Brown & Emmanuel Xerx
What if everything you knew about your life was a lie? When unassuming advertising illustrator Robert Moore begins having brutal nightmares that quickly bleed into his everyday life, he must try to decipher the truth from his torrid dreams, violent delusions, and his skewed perception of reality. But when Robert realizes his long-time girlfriend is sneaking around behind his back, he discovers that the truth to his nightmares is more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
I love reading comics and I love when I find something unique and different than what we’re used to seeing. The story that Zachary brings us here is exceptionally well told. Robert has these weird dreams, intense nightmares almost like Night Terrors where he’s leading a life he doesn’t recognise. He’s a killer in these dreams and as the issue progresses they become intense and bizarre and bleed into his waking hours.
The characterisation here is really good stuff. We see this young man who has a job as an artist at a firm where he’s valued but his current behaviour is under scrutiny. It causes him no small amount of stress that he can’t sleep and is seeing things and people that cause him to act like paranoid delusional. Sleeping at work having nightmarish visions that cause those around him to see him differently. It’s all too much for one man to handle and after going to the doctor who thinks it’s all stress induced and being prescribed anxiety medication things don’t seem to get any better for him.
I am loving the way we see how Zachary is showing us how all this affects him, his mental state, his behaviour and the relationship he has with those around him. As far as introductions to a series go this one grabs your attention right of the bat and really makes you wonder. Engaging the mind is a key element to any successful series and with Hermes new original series such as this it needs to be as good as it is to get noticed.
The interiors here are fantastic! The use of backgrounds throughout with their attention to detail really bring the reader into the book beautifully. With great use of colours as well they can make you feel you’re experiencing these dreams right alongside Robert. The page layouts with the use of angles and perspective control the flow of the story extremely well. The way the characters look and the emotions they give off through body language and facial expressions note some seriously artistic skill here.
As the story goes on and we’re introduced to Robert, what he does for a living and the people that make up his friends and supporting cast including his girlfriend there are no clues or indications that this is something other than an overworked and overstressed young man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Until the last page and nothing can you prepare you for that! It’s how the tension and revelations are presented to us that really cause us to care about Robert, his well being and want to learn what’s going on with him and what makes him so special that this series focuses on him. It’s a solid issue with great storytelling in words and pictures and should be among the top of your reading list.