Little Nemo has turned out to be a very nice surprise for me this year — it’s an enjoyable little read with terrific writing and artwork. How does Little Nemo close out the year with this issue? Is it good?
Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #3 (IDW Publishing)
Having returned to Slumberland once more, Nemo decides to hang out with the trouble causing figure called Flip. Flip wants to have some fun with him and decides the two of them are going to check out the Tessellated Tower, a rather odd tower outside of Slumberland. Once inside, things get trippy and by trippy, I mean REALLY trippy…
From a story perspective, there’s not much too really say about this particular issue. Both Nemo and Flip check out the Tessellated Tower, get stuck in it, and try to find a way out. That’s all there is to it. The only thing really jumps out about the story is that is seems to, for some reason, just continue on after they get out of the place and run into some random fireflies. It feels like the story peters out instead of ending at a more logical point. Odd, but nothing that’s really particularly bad.
The writing by Eric Shanower is just fine overall, even though not much happens. The pacing and the story structure on the book are fine to a certain extent, although sometimes scenes go on for much longer then they appear and transitions between some of them are a bit awkward in areas… but there is a reason for that (which we’ll get to in a bit).
The characterization is perfectly fine, but there’s not much in the way of development or insight gained. We mostly just have the characters reacting to things and events and that’s really it. The only other area is the direction with the comic: it doesn’t really ever seem likes it’s going anywhere or like there is a main story happening beyond Nemo becoming the Princess’s new playmate and just getting into adventures. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I could see it becoming a tad boring for some.
Now, the reason why there isn’t much to say about the story or the writing this time around is because of the artwork. Gabriel Rodriguez’ art steals the show: it looks unbelievable, easily some of the best artwork I’ve seen all year. The entire sequence inside of the Tessellated Tower was mind-blowing, featuring clever layouts, tessellated patterns and images, M.C. Escher-esque optical illusions, and intriguing colors and shapes. I’ve never seen a comic book this creative before with its artwork, especially in a comic for children. I would recommend people buy this issue simply for the artwork alone just so they can experience it for themselves.
Is It Good?
Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #3 is a bit of an oddball issue. On one hand, the story and writing aren’t particularly memorable this time around and not all that engaging. It’s all good, but not as good as previous issues. On the other hand, the artwork is stellar and absolutely beautiful to look at from beginning to end. It’s an amazing experience despite its shortcomings and you absolutely need to check it out.
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