Foreword: For the next few weeks I will most likely have guest reviewers on Wednesdays. Today is the first one. His name is Matt Willard, also known as the Helldragon. He reviews video games and nostalgic materials . He approached me on the Spoony Experiment forum (great site by the way) about doing a guest review of a comic. I told him sure, and here it is. To see more from Mr. Willard visit his site over at: http://www.giantrobotinvasion.com/ Now sit back and enjoy Mr. Willard’s review of Nights Into Dreams #1.

Back in the 90s, Sonic the Hedgehog was so popular that Archie Comics created a comic book series based on the character.  And despite the franchise’s…well, recent problems, Sonic’s comic book is still going strong.  In fact, it’s recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running comic book series based on a video game.  (Well, the Gamer Edition, at least, but that’s as respectable as the actual thing…right?)

So it’d make sense that Archie would try the same thing again with another Sega game.  This time, they decided to adapt a little Sega Saturn game called Nights Into Dreams.  Looking back, this probably wasn’t the wisest idea.  I mean, the game’s a cult classic, but it never really caught on like Sonic did.  I understand the mentality, though.  A nice little comic book series can get you some pretty good benefits.  The problem is that I don’t know any girl with lips big enough to ride Nights’ horns.

You must be this much of a whore to apply.

You must be this much of a whore to apply.

So Archie released two miniseries to see if a Nights comic would sell.  Did it work?  Well, I’m going to bitch about them on the Internet, do YOU think I have anything positive to say?

But even though both miniseries are terrible, I wanted to talk about the second one in particular.  Why?  Well, don’t get me wrong, the first miniseries is bad, but compared to the SECOND one…oh ho, BOY.  The second miniseries is amazing because somehow it manages to take everything that was bad about the first miniseries and make it EVEN WORSE.  It’s like if you stepped on a rusty nail and I said, “Hey, I’ll help you fix that, I just need to stick a dozen more needles into your face so the pain will magically go away”.

Personally, I don’t see how making a concept suck even more is a good idea when you want to create interest for an ongoing comic book.  But that’s how Archie went about it.  I mean, there’s no way in hell this shit was accidental.  Maybe the guys in charge felt like defying God’s word, but they figured dancing around a golden giraffe was a bit too obvious.

So that’s what we’re going to focus on here.  You want a reason why Nights never got its own ongoing monthly?  Well, let’s find out.

And heres a pretty damn good reason right here.

And here's a pretty damn good reason right here.

Fortunately, if you haven’t read the first miniseries-

-No, do not stop reading this and look it up, trust me on this one-

-the first page gives a short summary of what’s gone on before.  Basically, there’s these two teenagers named Elliot and Claris, who both have a special kind of dream energy.  The EVIL lord of nightmares, called Wizeman, wants their energy for himself so he can merge the real world with the world of dreams.  Personally, I think that could be a problem.  I mean, it’s hard enough paying Cubans for cheap labor, we don’t need nightmare monsters taking our jobs too.

Anyway, Wizeman eventually gets taken down by Nights, one of Wizeman’s former minions.  But the fight drains most of Nights’ power, and in order to save him, Elliot and Claris give up their own dream energy.  The last issue of the first series lets us see that Nights turns real because of it.  Nights, let me be the first to congraulate you on becoming real, but remember-if you’re unable to pay for Social Security, then I just can’t let you in America.  It’s only fair.

Hold on, Patrick Spaziante worked on this piece of shit?  What the hell was he thinking?  Oh well.  I guess every good artist needs some blemish on their career at one point or another.  It’s like that with the entire comic book industry, except their blemish is called Rob Liefield.

Anyway, the comic starts off with Elliot and Claris mentally GUSHING about what happened in the first miniseries.  And I mean it-it’s written like they’re explaining it to someone else, but they’re actually just thinking about it while they’re alone.  Is that the cool thing now?  Do you kids drop exposition while you’re doing stuff?  “‘Yo yo yo I’m gonna pop a cap in your ass!’ Strike Master G said as he slung out his silver .45 and pointed that long, cherished barrel at the fool that dare question his biz-ness!”

God I’m like Casper, I’m so white.

So Claris opens the door to greet Elliot and-

-okay, I’m just gonna pause right here.  This is officially your first warning, guys.  I warned you how bad this artwork was, and this whole review’s gonna be fraught with the stuff.  And you know what?  This is as good as it gets.  From here on out, it’s actually all downhill.

Look, this is gonna be hard for you, so you might want to take something before we continue.  Here, lemme give you some medicine.

No no no, you can’t have that medicine unless you have a note from your doctor.

Anyway, it turns out that it was all just a nightmare thrown at the teens by Reala, Wizeman’s other minion who got promoted to lord of nightmares after Wizeman bought the farm.  Reala dumps even more backstory on us and says that, after his rival Nights got revived, he hasn’t been able to find him.  Look, I know how comic books work.  You ask where Nights is, and because of the way it’s set up, I’ll turn the page and find out that-

-AHHHHH okay, that is just some horrible perspective.  Look at this-it looks like Nights has a torso that rivals Duke Nukem.  Even worse are his really thin legs which look strong enough to support water skimmers.  The only way this picture looks accurate is if you hold it upside down.  Underneath water.  While jumping through a Stargate.

So now that Nights is real, he decides that the first thing to do is scare the shit out of a bunch of skydivers.  This scares out one of the divers so much that he fails to pull his parachute and somehow starts falling to the ground EVEN FASTER.

Look, I’ve never skydived before, but I’m pretty sure gravity doesn’t pick someone out when it feels like being mean.  Gravity isn’t in the background going, “So, white man thinks he can jump, eh?  Let’s see how white man can FALL!  AH HAHAHAHA!”

Nights thinks that the falling guy is trying to “win the race to the ground”, so he flies down to stop him, where he-

Um, I’m sorry, but, um…who the fuck are you?  Why is the comic showing me your thoughts?  Are you suddenly an important character?  You don’t show up at any point after this scene, so why are they letting you put in your two cents?  Besides, your opinion doesn’t even matter-Nights just pulls the guy’s chute anyway, so in the end, your thoughts had absolutely no bearing on the storyline whatsoever.  Also, everyone hates you, Fluffy never actually ran away, and Archie isn’t your real father.

Also I’m going to shoot you.

…ah, shit, I was supposed to say that first, wasn’t I?

Anyway, Elliot and Claris try to get through their school day, but they’re having a hard time staying awake.  Somehow this ENRAGES the adults, who sit the kids down for a good, one-sided bitch session.  But it doesn’t really work-they just end up saying “blah blah blah” over and over like a Pokemon.  I guess that’s what happens when you hire teachers from Blahbania…you can never understand their accent.

We switch back over to a place called the Twin Seeds Tower, where a group of terrorists are holed up inside.  Apparently the guy who owns the building did something evil or something like that, and these guys want to-

-hold on.  ‘Agents of R.E.M.”?  Oh, that’s low, comic.  Really low.  In this comic, in particular, I should’ve seen that reference coming a mile way.  Then again, when I think about it, it doesn’t really make sense.  I mean, these terrorists don’t even have instruments.

Anyway, before the terrorists can say what they want, Nights suddenly breaks through the roof like he got tossed out of Con Air.  But one of the terrorists pulls his gun on Nights and says, “Make a move, clown boy, and I’ll give you a bellyful of blast!”

Okay, Van Damme, you’re not allowed to talk anymore.  And we’re gonna keep it that way until you can learn how to say things that aren’t completely fucking stupid, okay?

Anyway, the guy fires his gun, but Nights just eats the “blast” and shoots it back at the terrorists.  Then the  cops come in, and when Nights flies away, one of them says, “You see that, Joe?”

“What, Charley?  That strange flyin’ guy up there?  I’d look, but I’m too busy admiring this little page number right here.  HEHEHE!  He’s so tiny.”

Back at Elliot’s school, the coach is STILL bitching when Elliot suddenly gets a vision of Nights running away from the cops.  So Elliot goes to the rescue, and at Claris’s school-

Oh my God, are you STILL going?  Come on, man.  Does it REALLY matter if she was sleeping in a locker?  Because, you know, that’s why some high schools keep cops on campus, right?  Because locker-sleeping is so “dangerous”?

Anyway, Claris gets the same vision of Nights in trouble, and once again, the comic decides I need to know what the principal is thinking, even though he NEVER shows up again during this series.  Eh, whatever.  So Claris also goes to help, and-

Okay, you know what?  This is just atrocious.  Nobody walks like this.  The body is way too bent out of shape and the proportions are hideous.  The only way people would strike this pose in real life is if they were acting out a scene from Saturday Night Fever…and got punched for it.

Personally, I like how the adults are so busy complaining that they don’t even try to stop their students from running off.  “Look, I like to chase girls as much as the next guy, but when they hit twelve I’m just not interested anymore.”

Anyway, Nights is running away from the cops.  Wait a minute-he was flying a minute earlier, why’d he stop?  Well, it turns out that since he’s real now, he actually gotten scared of flying.  And you know, Nights, I can sympathize with you.  I remember when I got scared of flying.  During my first flight in an airplane, I was so afraid of crashing that I didn’t know how I was ever going to get on a plane again.

But you know what I did?  I got up, I took a deep breath…and I never got on an airplane again.  That’s why my trip to Arizona turned out to be one-way.  I hope that helps you.

So the cops are being lead by this lady with this huge ass set of teeth.  Now, this actually isn’t another random background person.  This was probably supposed to be a major supporting character, because they show her throughout the rest of the miniseries.  I guess Archie was trying to build up a bigger cast in case they ever went through with a monthly comic.  All right, fair enough.  So what’s her name?

Lieutenant Lucy O’Lawful.  Oh, gee, that was especially clever of you.  What’s the name of her favorite movie, Robot Joxer?

So Lieutenant Xena and the other cops lose Nights in a group of mimes, and-w-wait wait wait, hold on.

Mach Five?  The BATMOBILE?  You really had the nerve to put stuff from better franchises in your shitty comic, didn’t you, Archie?  What’s next, is Nights going to drive away in Optimus Prime?

…actually, that might be what this comic needs.

Anyway, Nights is moving with the crowd of mimes when his stomach suddenly goes off in hunger, although judging by the artwork it looks like he’s caught in a teleporter accident.  He runs into another alleyway and finds out that all of his energy is being drained, and…

…okay, I have no idea what he’s doing here.  Is this how dream creatures check their energy, they look at their pilot light or something?

Meanwhile, Elliot and Claris have joined forces and they ask a couple of mimes about Nights.

Oh, that’s helpful.  That’s like if I put up posters for a missing dog and describe it as “sorta looks like the Taco Bell dog.  May or may not speak Spanish.”

But before Elliot and Claris can use their amazing detective skills to find Nights, some random ass cop comes in out of nowhere and chucks them in a squad car for skipping school.

Blah blah blah blah blah shut the hell up.  First off, how the hell do you know they’re skipping school?  Did their teachers call it in?  If so, why didn’t the comic show us that?  Was that not important enough?  They showed us what a random skydiver was thinking, you’d think the comic would fall on its face trying to show us some actual plot development.

Secondly, don’t you have bigger priorities right now?  Like investigating the building wtih terrorists?  Or maybe catching the freakish mine creature running around the city?  Or arresting some ACTUAL CRIMINALS-are you getting any of this?

But no, it’s okay.  Arrest the truants.  And don’t worry about other teenagers running around buying their first hit of heroin from the city drug dealer.  I mean, sure, they’ll take it once, but they won’t come back a second time, right?  Right?

But just then, Elliot and Claris spot something in the distance.  Who could it be?  Gasp!  It’s Nights!  But who’s helping him?  Only the dastardly force that is…ROGER!

…wait, who the hell is Roger?

Oh, wait, I remember.  See, in the first miniseries, whenever Elliot and Claris entered the dream world, they could fuse together with Nights.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe Nights wanted to be one of those Russian dolls that stack up in each other.

But the thing is that since Reala’s just a recolor of Nights, Wizeman got a bully named Roger to be Reala’s dream partner, and this means that Reala can also use Roger’s body in the real world.  The illusion is airtight.  No one suspects that Reala is controlling Roger’s body, mostly because Reala fails Biology exams as much as Roger does.

Anyway, that’s basically how the issue ends, and with Elliot and Claris being hauled away by the cops, can they escape and help Nights before it’s too late?  I don’t know, but if he dies, they’ll have to call the comic “Into Dreams”, and that sounds like something that plays Sunday afternoon on PBS.

Tune in next time for issue 2 of Nights Into Dreams, miniseries 2!  And remember-if you think you’re ready for it, you’re actually not.

Images from: http://nightsintodreams.com/

Matt’s website: http://www.giantrobotinvasion.com/

If you want to be a guest reviewer for CBO Productions, contact us at comicbookoverkill@gmail.com

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