Writer: Warren Ells
Artists: Ivan Rodriguez, Andrew Dalhouse (color)
Publisher: Avatar Press
Rampant futurism abounds, my friends. Those pictures of the shrieking hobo ranting at a wall uploaded to your blog from your phone all while Twittering your friends about the oh-so-clever bumper sticker you just saw is a testament to that. We live in an age of wonder...and yet all too common is the incessant moaning regarding the lack of things like flying cars, machine assisted super strength, or pill food. We don't revel in the future, we take it for granted and shove it rudely aside in the pursuit of a chromed out fantasy where everyone has a jetpack and the skyline is marred by airways in which flying cars zoom hither and yon.
Here in lies the premise of Ellis' newest release, Doktor Sleepless.
John Reinhardt, having spent a year without sleep doing...something (which I'm reasonably certain will be expounded on further in later issues) dons the monicker Doktor Sleepless and emerges from the solitude of his mountain top mansion to wreak unsought change in the inhabitants of Heavenside. A brief discussion between the Doktor and two hobos in which the apathetic attitudes of the town's residents are decried allows the Doktor to mysteriously explain his purpose: a wake up call to inhabitants of Heavenside and the administration of a "terrible prescription." I expect chaos and upheaval in a manner befitting the ripped to the gills antiheroes that Ellis consistently delivers. I doubt I'll be dissapointed.
Unique in this offering is the introduction of a "datashadow," content throughout the book that is linked to a wiki (created preceding the release of Doktor Sleepless) and, according to the author, other places on the web which have yet to be specifically mentioned. This level of interactivity is an interesting addition to the book, allowing readers to discover purposefully obfuscated links intended to enrich the world of Doktor Sleepless. You are not simply relegated to the role of casual observer to the antics of the good Doktor, you become a participant. Should the tracking down of minutiae seem a task too daunting, there is still a highly entertaining story sure to keep you interested.
Sadly, the artwork simply isn't on par with the story. The teaser art released for the book is far superior to what Ivan Rodriguez ultimately delivers and leaves me wondering just what happened between then and now. The only panel I found myself enjoying at all shows a young Doktor about to be embraced by wispy tentacles, and that may simply be my proclivity for tentacles and all things Lovecraftian in nature. I grow exceedingly weary of good stories combined with lackluster art and pin my hopes on Rodriguez either shaping up or shipping out...and soon. He's shown he's a good artist, so why aren't we seeing it now? When everyone in the book without goggles looks like a wall eyed stroke victim, you know something has gone horribly wrong or someone has become horribly lazy.
All in all, I enjoyed Doktor Sleepless, Ellis rarely dissapoints, but the distractingly bad art cost the book a better rating.
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