Now halfway through Nathan Edmondson and Konstantin Nvosadov's "The Dream Merchant" miniseries, Winslow continues his training under the mysterious Dream Merchant while his friend Anne keeps watch. The issue moves along quickly with its fair share of action and expounds upon the exposition presented in other issues. Although the book excels in its character work, the story is burdened with an overabundance of confusing information that weighs the plot down.
Throughout the story so far, Edmondson really shows his strength in character building. Each character comes to life through his or her own little quirks, like Anne's history as a juvenile delinquent or Winslow's aversion to his responsibility. Even minor characters, like the FBI agent in charge of Winslow and Anne's case, come to life under Edmondson's pen. The greatest pleasure of each issue lies in the characters' interaction with each other, especially between Anne and Winslow, whose opposing personalities bring about some interesting conversations. The only exception to this would be the Dream Merchant himself, who serves as a vehicle for background information and doesn't seem to possess much of a personality of his own. Aside from this, the characters in themselves are fascinating, making the reader genuinely care about their welfare.
However, this issue comes packed with a lot of information, building off of the heavy mythology previously explained in the book. The exposition occupies so much of the book, in fact, that it seems to take the place of answers to important questions, like what made the Dream Merchant turn on his own people or what the Dream Merchant's people decide to attack earth at this point. The story, at this halfway point, has so many holes that need to be filled that it appears as though Edmondson is dodging certain questions or trying to fill space until the right dramatic moment. The amount of dense dialogue dedicated to back story is simply too much; if Edmondson could show this in a more natural, active way, it would be a much more effective story overall.
Nvosadov's work fits the dreamy atmosphere of the series with its Roald Dahl-esque style. His artwork recalls the whimsy of childhood, especially in its pink and blue tones. The regulators and other nightmare creatures work particularly well with his flare for spindly, sharp-edged creatures. However, all of the characters appear to be older than they are due to the amount of lines on their faces. Even the younger characters, like Winslow and Anne, have thick lines for the bags under their eyes and what appears to be crow's feet at the corner of their eyes, for a general aged effect.
"The Dream Merchant" #3 suffers from a dense, exposition-heavy plot that stays exciting only because of its excellent character building. The miniseries has a lot of potential to stay afloat, but only if the story is executed with more natural dialogue. With three issues left to go, "The Dream Merchant" is worth a read for Edmondson's characters, Nvosadov's fanciful art and the sleepy world that seems as though it's just about to get interesting for everyone involved.