Review by Ian Keogh
While the cosmic events of Infinity Countdown and Infinity Wars play out, Chad Bowers and Chris Sims have their own little 1990s revival sideline. This continues from Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk, and provides the answer to the distressing dreams Chris Powell has been experiencing. It’s down to Sleepwalker, a strange being connected with the Mindscape, a sort of other-dimensional policeman able to manifest on Earth when Rick Sheridan falls asleep. It was a weird and different concept from Bob Budiansky and Brett Blevins, whose origin story is reprinted in the back, but it never quite gelled back in the day.
Sleepwalker’s involvement in Infinity Wars comes at the point that reality has been altered by the infinity stones, halving the population of the universe by merging two beings into one. If that concept appeals, check out the Infinity Warps graphic novel. Bowers and Sims have their own take on that as Sleepwalker looks for allies, first settling on Little Monster, a combination of Ant-Man and the Hulk, but still the strongest one there is. They also come up with a great merger for Sheridan.
This spins from the events of Infinity Wars rather than affecting them directly, and the idea of a being connected with the unconscious having to work his way through the infinity gems on a quest hits the right notes.
Todd Nauck’s art remains distinctive, but not as distorted as once it was. His style is suited to an exaggerated character experiencing a range of emotions, some very new to him, and there’s a lot of effort put into the surroundings. Another very distinctive combined character emerges for the final chapter, and Nauck plays with all the possibilities of an ugly form while also excelling when the nightmares finally arrive.
Bowers and Sims don’t exactly turn this into a laugh fest, but they employ a lighter touch than the 1990s series, and that’s an improvement for a character that could be dreary at times. There’s some smart foreshadowing, and as they did with Darkhawk, some tinkering resulting in a more viable logic behind Sleepwalker and his world. This hasn’t led to a full-fledged revival, though, and that’s a shame as the possibilities are now here.