Louis: Dreams Never Die

By Metaphrog
48 pages, color
Published by Metaphrog

There are books which are easy to sum up in a few words, and those that straddle the lines between one classification and the next. The comic-creating duo of Metaphrog’s series of Louis graphic novels not only does that, but it seems to take great glee in doing so. And really, that’s part of the joy of this unique series.

Louis is still living in the controlling city of Hamlet, working in his little home and writing letters to his Aunt Alison. When he hasn’t heard from her in a while, he decides it’s time to try and visit her. The problem is, leaving his home is strictly forbidden, and the Fly Catchers will be looking for poor Louis…

Louis: Dreams Never Die is the fourth in the series of Louis albums, set in a world where strange mechanical constructions imprison people in their homes and the mountains on the horizon are nothing more than a cruel joke for those trapped in Hamlet. Metaphrog’s created a setting with its own unique laws and society, bringing to mind classics like the television show “The Prisoner” but standing apart with its own ideas and how the concepts are executed. With each new volume of Louis we learn a little bit more about Hamlet, letting us understand that while there are oppressors that keep Louis and the other inhabitants of Hamlet in their place, that there are others within Hamlet who are actively struggling against the society’s cruel structure. While Louis: Dreams Never Die builds on a larger scale as part of the greater Louis story, I was still satisfied with reading the book as an individual unit. Louis’s desire for contact from his fictious Aunt Alison is understandable, and his attempted journey to find her pulled on my heartstrings; even knowing that there wouldn’t be a real Aunt Alison waiting for him at the address he had, Metaphrog was able to infuse a level of emotion into the book that made me desperate to find out who or what would be there, hoping for some form of comfort for Louis. There are a lot of little moments throughout the book that really hit home as well, like Louis’s sudden realization that “You can hurt someone without meaning to”, or Louis’s ever perplexing dreams which hint at thoughts bubbling through Louis’s subconscious. After reading a new volume of Louis for the first time, I usually start re-reading it right away, absorbing the story ideas and concepts that Metaphrog have presented to us, enjoying each new tidbit of knowledge that has been buried away for the finding, and Dreams Never Die is no exception to this rule.

If you’ve ever seen any past Louis artwork it should be no real surprise that Dreams Never Die has a beautiful, crisp full color style waiting for the reader. The characters of Louis remind me almost of humanoid moles, with their round little heads and soft hands. Everything is crafted with a gentle, soothing look, from FC’s ringed bird cage to the curved chess set that wraps around a rock. With most of Dreams Never Die set in Louis’s house that we’ve seen in earlier volumes, it’s great fun when the book goes to a much older part of Hamlet and we’re able to see a very different part of the city, with its low stone walls and decay putting you in the right frame of mind for what is to happen. Metaphrog draws Louis’s approach to Aunt Alison’s house in the old part of Hamlet perfectly, putting hesitation and disappointment in Louis’s body language. A strange cross of a book meant for both younger and much older readers, the art successfully hits all the points it’s trying to make.

Louis: Dreams Never Die is another winner of a book from Metaphrog, although I must admit that part of me is always a little disappointed at the end of each new installment because I desperately want to know what happens next. Some of the withdrawal pains can at least be soothed by the addition of a soundtrack with music by Hey and Múm, and an animated short you can watch on your computer. It’s fun to see the world of Louis come to life just a little more in this fantastic series.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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