Issue(s): Sleepwalker #13, Sleepwalker #14, Sleepwalker #15, Sleepwalker #16
In fact, the light makes him want to sit around and listen to Rush (yes, i know it's really a Coleridge poem), which makes Rick fall asleep on a subway car, causing him to miss a chance to make up with Alyssa and makes him yet again fail to complete some chores for his landlord.
But Sleepwalker doesn't care.
The light makes him do regrettable things.
And eventually the trip goes bad.
But when he goes back for another hit, the assistant to Dr. C.W. Fong, the guy who was experimenting with the diamond, steals it for herself, and becomes Spectra.
Spectra was originally trying to steal the diamond for her boyfriend for (appropriately enough) drug money, but she realizes now that he's a deadbeat and she's in it for herself now.
Sleepwalker chases after Spectra, not because he's a good guy and he needs to stop her, but because he's addicted to the light that she now generates.
Sleepwalker winds up mesmerized by Spectra's light, and goes on a rampage, trying to warp reality so that it looks like his home dimension.
This attracts the attention of Col. Tolliver Smith, the guy that was running the Office of Insufficient Evidence that recently attacked Sleepwalker. Smith is supposed to be shut down after Lt. Perez filed an injunction against him, but he gives a call to the "Thought Police" and together they go to the Fantastic Four for help.
Meanwhile, Rick's dog Rambo, in his most active role so far in this series, leads Dr. Fong to where Sleepwalker has passed out in an alley. Let's hear it for Rambo!
Rambo also answers the letters in issue #15's lettercol, but it's not as adorable as you might think. He mainly complains about how little attention he gets.
Forcing Rick to stay asleep so that Sleepwalker can enjoy his light has put Rick in a dangerous coma. At least Alyssa finds out about it and doesn't blame him for missing their date. But she's still with her current jerk boyfriend Whitney Cooper.
Col. Smith wants Mr. Fantastic to send his Thought Police into the dimension that Sleepwalker hides in. Mr. Fantastic, unaware that the dimension is really Rick's brain, agrees to help, although he insists that he go with the Thought Police in place of Smith. Mr. Fantastic isn't so sure that Sleepwalker is a bad guy. Inside the "dimension" Reed and the Police fight creatures that turn out to be memories of Rick's toys.
At this point, Sleepwalker and Rambo are visiting Rick in the hospital, and Rambo manages to temporarily wake Rick from his coma.
This causes Sleepwalker to disappear into Rick's mind, which rejuvenates him. But it also makes it possible for the Thought Police to find him.
But Mr. Fantastic continues to be less gung-ho than the Thought Police...
...and he rebels when he finds out that they are inside someone's mind.
Mr. Fantastic tries to withdraw with the Thought Police, but they manage to jam his signal and remain behind while he returns to the real world.
Sleepwalker's fight with the Thought Police inside Rick's mind worsens Rick's condition. In fact the doctor at the hospital declares him "virtually brain dead" to his family. But the upside is that Rick is able to manifest inside his own head and meet Sleepwalker. The problem is that he doesn't want to listen to Sleepwalker, and he goes to fight the Thought Police on his own.
Rick is pretty powerful inside his own mind. I'm kind of detecting some latent super-villain tendencies, though, so let's hope he never gets any real power.
Meanwhile, Sleepwalker complains that he's being sucked into a whirlpool of junk.
Actually, Sleepwalker, that's what other people say when they have to guest star in your comic. But i have to turn the page, because that thing at the top of that panel, with the long nose and the antlers and the duck feet? It's terrifying me.
After the junk, the next set of memories that Sleepwalker has to contend with are some of Rick's past girlfriends. Surprisingly not racy images for a teenage boy's brain.
Sleepwalker breaks out of the whirlpool and knocks out Rick before he over-taxes his brain and kills himself. Then Sleepwalker beats up the Thought Police, and they flee back to the Fantastic Four's building, where the Thing manhandles them.
And at the hospital, Rick wakes up feeling fine. Note that Spectra doesn't appear again after causing Sleepwalker to go on his rampage. She'll appear again in future issues. The Thought Police never appear again, though, and this is also Tolliver Smith's last appearance.
I'm very happy to watch Sleepwalker get high and stumble around, but at four issues, and with goofball characters like the Thought Police, this arc is kind of long. As with Darkhawk, this book seems a little directionless. Perhaps not coincidentally, next issue is a team-up with Darkhawk. One difference between the books is that Bret Blevins has a unique art style that works best with trippy weird concepts like the ones here, so at least this has that going for it.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAlyssa Conover, C.W. Fong, Flo Sheridan, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Rambo (dog), Rick Sheridan, Sleepwalker, Spectra, Thing, Tolliver Smith, Whitney Cooper, William Sheridan
The "thing at the top of that panel, with the long nose and the antlers and the duck feet" looks to be from the children's story "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet" by Dr. Seuss (under a pseudonym). No clue why it's in Sleepwalker.
Posted by: Joe | March 1, 2016 2:06 PM
Thanks Joe. I guess Rick read that book as a kid so it's in his memories. *I* will have to make sure to avoid it, though.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 1, 2016 2:26 PM
Oh my God, those three boys coming over the hill in the same panel are Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators! I loved that series when I was a kid!
Posted by: Andrew | March 1, 2016 9:39 PM
I did too. There's a Thark from the John Carter books below them, and the dog from THE JETSONS below him. Towards the lower left corner there's Krazy Kat, Robinson Crusoe and Max from WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. The frog in the centre is Mr Toad from THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. The guys in the net on the upper left might be the Challengers of the Unknown, but I'm not certain. The horizontal woman looks like someone specific - I think she's a robot - but I can't place her.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 1, 2016 10:58 PM
There's also a guy in a rag hat with a cutlass in the background who I assume is a pirate from Treasure Island. The net in the upper left looks like it might be attached to a hot air balloon, so maybe that's Around the World in Eighty Days?
Posted by: Andrew | March 4, 2016 7:29 AM
You're definitely right about the balloon. But I don't think there is one in the AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (that is, the book rather than the movies). I think it's a scene from another book of Verne's, THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. This opens with his heroes adrift over the ocean on a balloon. It's losing height, so they drop the car and cling to the mesh. The characters are Union men escaping Richmond during the Civil War, and I think one of the men in the image is wearing a military cap.
Thanks for pointing that out, and the Investigators.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 4, 2016 1:13 PM
The Three Investigators? I totally missed them. That's awesome!
I'm a huge fan of those books, and for years, I bemoaned their scarce appearances in used book stores (especially relative to the Hardy Boys), thinking nobody liked them but me. I've since learned it's quite the opposite - they have quite the following, and the dearth of used copies is because they get snatched up so quick.
Apparently Budiansky or Blevins must have been a fan as well.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | March 8, 2016 1:19 PM
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