Beatrice “Bea” Whaley might be losing her mind. Each night she dreams that she has journeyed back to Massachusetts in 1776, where a Revolutionary War soldier named Alan Warren is in love with her. He’s gorgeous and her nightly adventures are exciting, but aren’t they just dreams? Are they worth sacrificing real world happiness for? Or are her nighttime travels more than just fantasy?
Innes’ graphic novel is the first collection of her webcomic. It is a creative mix of 21st Century teen-life and Revolutionary War-era historical fiction. Though Innes sometimes skirts the edge of crazy mess, she manages to pull off a win by careful plotting, an appealing main character, and just a hint of melodramatic romance.
Time travel plots are always tricky to make believable, which is why Innes’ decision to use Bea’s dreams as the mode of travel is so inspired. Readers are spared the need to understand the mechanics of the travel at the beginning of the story, allowing them the get sucked into the tale. I’m assuming that as the story goes on the time travel elements will have to be explained more, but for now the ambiguity of Bea’s situation is exciting. Bea is part of that excitement. Her wide-eyed acceptance of her strange new situation is believable as she is portrayed as dreamy romantic with aspirations of being an actress. It makes sense that she would be caught up in the fun of being someone new in a different place and time, especially when there is a handsome man in love with her. Bea’s attraction to both 1776’s Alan Warren and Ben, a classmate and longtime crush, adds much needed romantic tension, making this a great possibility for readers looking to swoon a little.
As this is the first volume, there are some minor stumbling blocks. A few typos should have been caught and just a bit of the language of the Revolutionary soldiers sounds anachronistic, but those are both small complaints…..
The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale, vol. 1
IDW Publishing, July 2009