Ah, young love. It’s a tactic that has been used relentlessly in fiction, to drive happy endings (Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger), tragic endings (Romeo and Juliet) and unknown endings (Reylo – as of yet). As of the ending of its last issue, Lucy Dreaming is no exception and has joined these ranks. The question is where this fresh situation takes our heroine, Lucy, and more specifically, whether she and Welsey can, amidst their newfound fondness for each other, find the meaning behind their constant jumping in and out of fantasy and dream worlds.
The issue opens up with Lucy and Welsey at first coming to grips with their feelings for one another, and then Lucy proceeding to spill the beans of the critical information she learned in the last issue from her mom about the “dream scape.” It doesn’t seem like much at first, but later on we find out that this is a critical error in her judgment (although can you really blame her? She’s just a kid!). Before we have time to digest the wisdom or folly of her decisions, we are transported once again into a dream/fantasy world.
Normally, I’d wait to start talking about the art later on, but I have to bring it up right away because it dominates the rest of the story. Dialynas completely steals the show here. He ducks copyright and pays tribute to a massive number of characters: visible in multiple panels are Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Superman, Cyclops, Green Lantern, the Kangaroo, Spider-Man — hell, Omni-Man makes an appearance. Then later on, he manages to find a way to bring in Harry Potter, Geordi LaForge, and even the freaking DeLorean (!). The way he manages to pull this off is nothing short of brilliant. While the art isn’t super heavy on detailed shots, Dialynas manages to leverage his intentionally “cartoony” style to skirt any sort of copyright rules. He does this by utilizing distant shots and small variations to the classic superheroes and characters to be able to use them without getting in trouble, so to speak. There is the shot at the end which is slightly different and pays a twisted sort of tribute to Disney characters (at least in this reviewer’s opinion), and allows Dialynas to prove he can pull off detailed shots if and when needed.
As for the rest of the story, there’s little time to get oriented as Lucy simply jumps into and enjoys the action, unlike her last several outings. After getting knocked back to reality by the villain of the world, she awakens momentarily before jumping back into the dream and encountering a character played by her mother. She finally gets a wake up call from mom and we learn that she’s been duped all along by Welsey. When she finally confronts Welsey in his form in this world, he openly admits to his acts, citing what was done to him in his childhood by his dad as justification for him to go on a tear. Eventually this ends up leading Lucy to one final transformation that puts her in a position to be the the savior of “all existence.”
The start of the issue seemed promising, but I have to confess I was a little let down by by Welsey’s cliched motivation to pursue the course of action he has chosen that is brought up later on. Even worse, measuring the impact of his actions by an imbalance in “masculine energy” seems like a confusing attempt to explore gender issues that could have been more meaningful had this been tackled earlier (certainly not in the action-packed, second to last issue of the series). On the flip side, I do love the way Lucy is portrayed here, showing her flaws in a refreshing way as she instinctively calls out Welsey as a “manipulator!” and then falls for his machinations anyway, and later on showing guilt talking to her mother when she realizes that she has been enabling Welsey all along to act out his frustrations. The cliffhanger is interesting but seems to bafflingly pull away from the relationship and conflict between Welsey and Lucy that was built up throughout the whole issue.
Is it good?
As we approach the end, Lucy Dreaming lays it all out on the table. In some cases, including the art, it’s brilliant. In others, it’s a bit confusing. But there’s no less energy and joy now than there was in the first issue, and that’s the most important thing. The bottom line: if you’ve stuck around this long, it’s worth taking one more jump into the dream world and seeing how this thing wraps up.
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