If we’re still talking about infodumps I have an example of a good one. Sleepless Domain’s first chapter is nothing but one big infodump. In 25 pages it has to not only quickly esablish the rules of the world, but also introduce Team Alchemical, and their unique powers and personalities, and make you care about all that crap.

I think we’re all starting to throw around the word “Infodump” a bit too liberally here. An “infodump” is when someone hits the pause button so that a character can have a long expository monolouge (or conversation)

Sleepless Domain does not infodump because it does not tell us things. It shows up things. This is two sentences, and they are fucking amazing. Why? Because

1. There’s a logical in-story reason for the line to be said (bonus: It’s clear what that reason is)
2. It sets the mood of the scene, which is the point of an establishing shot
3. The only thing we’re explicitly told about the world is the time. However, from this, we can infer that the world of Sleepless Domain is under some form of martial law, and that this is because of some kind of danger (because lock your doors and windows)

The very next panel is Tessa in a restaurant. We immediately know that she is in some way special, because everyone’s supposed to be in their homes and this is clearly not a home. The chairs being put up makes it clearer this is a restaurant and not like a really big house. We also know Tessa is special because she literally has a spotlight on her and lots of sparkles.  The first chapter heavily implies Tessa is the protagonist of the story in order to set up the Big Twist

Enter Undine. Undine is flustered at being late, but Tessa is chill because everyone else is even later. We know a bit of Undine’s personality from her line (and her fashionable clothes), and we know a bit of Tessa’s from hers (and also a bit of “Everyone Else”). We can also infer that Tessa is somehow “above” Undine, because Undine is being so apologetic to her.

The other three show up and have interactions that show their anime stereo- I mean personalities.

Team shot placing Tessa as the leader in case you didn’t pick up on that. (By the way, note how Undine, who ties up her hair in subsequent chapters, has a really similar hairstyle her to Tessa, Sally, and Sylvia, to make her look more generic and part of a set)

During the fight, Tessa does explicitly say she’s the leader, in case you’re slow. But this sets up the “Sally wants to be in charge” storyline for Chapter 2.

The fight scene is a fight scene, but note how much time is spent on these combos wow I can’t wait to see the other possible combo moves that I’ll undoubtedly see in later chapters starring this team I sure am being subconsciously planted with assumptions as to where there story’s gonna go.

And then we have a teaser of someone narrating of Bad Things ahead while the camera lingers ominously on the speaker. Presumably the Bad Things will happen because of the city, after the team uncovers a conspiracy or some such. The city is the cause of the Bad Things because we’re looking at the speakers when the ominous line is said. If something else caused the Bad Things, this panel would make that more surprising.

And then there is ever so slight of an infodump which is more of a teaser for this purple person. Is she a magical girl? She’s color-coded like they are and also that’s the genre but this is a series that likes to set up false expectations by abusing subtle implications

Like how the first appearance of Heartful Punch is of everyone gushing over her while she looks smug and kind of douchey, as if the comic were announcing “This is the Popular Girl and she’s a total bitch and will probably be a tertiary antagonist if not the actual villain”.

And the way Chapter 2′s cover page appears really late into Chapter 2, after the main conflict (Sally wants to be in charge) springs up, and then from the title you think this is going to be a storyline about the team suffers a break that will probably end with everyone kissing and making up because it’s only Chapter 2 and that’s a really weird time in the story to be making a major change to the status quo. This will be a fun chapter about establishing the relationship between Sally and Tessa!

Anyway, the worldbuilding of Sleepless Domain is really good, full of subtle lies that make you be surprised by things, and done through showing and carefully chosen shots and lines, rather than someone sitting down and saying this shit.

Um, except for the current page, but that’s a between-chapters bonus.