Graphic Novel Review: The Nightmare Brigade Vol. 1: The Girl From Déjà Vu

The Nightmare Brigade Vol. 1: The Girl From Déjà Vu by Franck Thilliez (story), Yomgui Dumont (art), and Drac (color). Translation by Joe Johnson. Papecutz, 2022. 9781545808771. 112pp. Originally published in French as two separate volumes.

By day Estaban and Tristan attend Jules Ferry High School. By night they help Tristan’s father’s young patients by entering their dreams as members of The Nightmare Brigade. They use a machine the professor invented, along with an airlock that leads into the dreamer’s mind. (Once in a dream that door is Estaban and Tristan’s only way back to reality. If the dreamer wakes up while they’re in their nightmare, Estaban and Tristan will be trapped there.)

Within the graphic novel are two cases, or maybe three. The first is Sarah who, like Estaban, was found in the forest suffering from amnesia a few years before the story starts. If Tristan and Estaban can figure out what’s causing her recurring nightmares they may be able to stop them. It all involves armed adults scouring a walled city looking for kids along with some weirder stuff. (On the plus side, people from reality each get a special power while inside nightmares. On the negative side, if anything from the nightmares ever finds its way out of the airlock, our world will be in real trouble.) The second case involves a kid having nightmares about a nuclear accident and a terrifying fairy. There’s also another young man, a prisoner in the professor’s lab, into whose mind Tristan’s mother disappeared.

It’s a bit strange, and sure to appeal to young teens who fondly remember things like Goosebumps. By the end of this volume, the Nightmare Brigade has a new member and Tristan has discovered his secret origin, which sets up the next book in the series.


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