For those not up to speed on this colourful and energetic book from Darby Pop Publishing, here is a quick recap: –
There is an underground organization of assassins who spend way too much time on having sleep derived monikers. We have “Boogieman” for a field agent of the service; “a Dream” for the mission of the agent; “Sheep” are targets and when they are picked for termination, they go “Black”. Got that? Don’t worry, there will not be a test later!
The main thrust of the story is two-fold mixing in past and present which goes to show the origins of Lullaby and her Boogieman father “Z”. The present gives the pair wide and varied obstacles as they attempt to complete various dreams whilst trying to also negotiate a normal life which is made harder by the fact that Lullaby in her civilian life is dating the son of the man who killed her mom! The past shows how she went from good girl gone bad and the first of her dark missions.
With so much going on it would be easy for one part of the story to get lost. Yet creator and writer A.J Scherkenbach gives each element their due amount of attention without favouring one over the other. As such we get a past that is brimming with details that somehow manages to move past the inescapable truth that whatever happened to young Lullaby she survived. This is a sign of how good the dialogue is, weaving us into Z and Lullaby’s lives. The present is pretty much no holds barred stuff with a level of violence that you would expect in a book about a secret group of Boogiemen, dealing with sheep gone black. I am pretty sure keeping all the continuity straight must be a nightmare.
The art is provided by J. Briscoe Allison who seems to have come from the Art Adams / J. Scott Campbell school of anatomy. Not that I am complaining, I do have a soft spot for Mr Campbell’s work. Here ever muscle is over elaborated on, giving the impression of a cartoon on steroids. Coupled with a big head and big feet younger self, there is almost a Bill Waterson vibe on show. Whatever or whichever particular influence floats your boat, the complete picture works very well indeed. The kinetics of the art has the impact of giving the book its energy, with the cartoony element bringing the fun.
The cynical comic book fan will no doubt raise a couple of points. The past and present style is currently getting an exaggerated airing on Arrow, which in turn will lead to comparisons between Young Lullaby and Hit Girl moving towards similarities to Jennifer Blood. Still, these facets do not take anything away from this issue and the run as a whole.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Co-created by writer AJ Scherkenbach and artist J. Briscoe Allison
Publisher: Darby Pop
The trade paperback (graphic novel) of Sweet Lullaby will be releasing in March 2017