Review: Infinity Wars – Sleepwalker #1

The hero of the Mindscape is back! Sleepwalker returns to save the minds of every person on Earth from collapse in this latest comic book from Marvel. ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen takes a look.

Review: Infinity Wars – Sleepwalker #1

Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man are truly great characters, maybe even the greatest depending on who you ask. But they aren’t for everybody. For some of us, it isn’t the poster children of comic books that interest us (although we still appreciate them). It’s the slightly off-kilter, further out, and sometimes truly bizarre characters that really capture our imagination.

Sleepwalker, Darkhawk, Death’s Head, Terror Inc., these are just some of the “fringe” characters of comicdom. Lesser known heroes, but some of whom are no less great than the mega-popular superheroes known the world over. Their fans are few, but they view these characters in as high of regard, if not greater, as the rest.

Chris Sims and Chad Bowers appear to be on a mission to resuscitate several of Marvel’s fringe characters. First, it was Death’s Head, appearing in the book X-Men 92’. Earlier this year it was Darkhawk. Now Sleepwalker is having a turn or rather a “return.”

In June of 1991 Marvel Comics launched a new comic book with a strikingly original character. Created by Bob Budiansky, Sleepwalker was an alien being from another dimension. Sleepwalker, along with others of his race, protected the minds of sentient beings everywhere from nightmare creatures and psychic attacks from the denizens of the Mindscape.

The title endured for 33 issues and a Holiday Special before its inevitable cancellation (a fate awaiting most books in the 1990’s). Sleepwalker slipped into relative obscurity after that with guest appearances here and there over the next twenty years.

At last Sleepwalker returns, starring in a book of his own, albeit a limited series.


Gamora, using the Infinity Gems, has merged every soul on the planet into composite beings. Not only have their souls merged but their psyches as well. This massive psychic disturbance has been felt throughout the Mindscape. The greatest hero of the Mindscape, Sleepwalker, envisions a massive psychic collapse on the horizon. The hero sets out to save the minds of everyone on Earth, but not before recruiting help from old allies.

The Breakdown:

The book opens with a mission statement of sorts, one that perfectly captures the sentiments of those fans who’ve always preferred the fringe characters to the pop heroes:

“…for every Wonder Man, there are at least three more heroes you’ve never heard of… Selfless men and women—some super-powered, some not—Each one giving something of themselves to protect us from the dark alleys of the world. They aren’t household names… They’re Secret Defenders—and this is our story.”

These lines are spoken by the hero Silhouette, a great yet fringe character from the New Warriors. She’s a perfect choice to deliver these lines, the words “Secret Defenders” loaded with subtext. Sleepwalker himself was once a member of the superhero team, the Secret Defenders.

Chris Sims and Chad Bowers pick up the story as if no time has passed. Rick Sheridan, one half of the Sleepwalker dynamic, appears first, resuming his filmmaker vocation from the original series. As with Darkhawk, Bowers and Sims have done their homework. References abound in this issue to not only the original series but even Sleepwalker’s appearances in Ms. Marvel and other books.

The writers make excellent use of the limited space they’re given, representing the classic Rick/Sleepwalker dynamic, covering the events of Infinity Wars #3, and accurately defining the Mindscape dimension. In addition to all of this they’ve set up hitherto unknown ramifications of Gamora’s actions and how Sleepwalker is the only hero capable of solving this dilemma.

Bowers and Sims expertly cover the material and set up the stakes.

The Art

Offering an equally vital aspect of the book is artist Todd Nauck. Nauck’s art is lighthearted, fun, and well done all around. Simply put: Sleepwalker looks great. Nauck is a much better artist than you’d expect Marvel to assign to a Sleepwalker book and I for one thank them for it.

Nauck channels both the wild and realistic aesthetics reminiscent of Sleepwalker’s original lead artists, Bret Blevins and Kelly Krantz. The Mindscape looks insane and incredible in Todd Nauck’s hands. And the art is made all the greater by Rachelle Rosenberg’s amazing and vibrant colours. Again, Rosenberg’s colour pallet appears to be derived from the original Sleepwalker series.

As of issue #1, the book is off to a great start.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Sleepwalker was one of the first characters I formed an attachment to when I began reading and collecting comic books. His series was the first title I collected in its entirety. As a result, I’ve been a lifelong fan of the character and have been calling for his return for some time now.

When it was announced on the final page of Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #4 that Sleepwalker was coming back, I dusted off my old issues of Sleepwalker and read them all in preparation. Bowers and Sims have once again delivered a faithful continuation.

Here’s hoping the remaining three issues deliver big and ultimately result in Sleepwalker, Darkhawk, and Death’s Head returning in an ongoing series beyond the events of Infinity Wars.

What did you think?

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Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche

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