Dream Police #1 (Comics Review)
Ever since I read J. Michael Straczynski’s Before Watchmen comics and his Superman: Earth One comics, I’ve been a fan of his work. His writing appeals to me. Last year I continued that with his wonderful Wonder Woman: Odyssey comics, and they were even more fun, if that’s possible. Suffice to say, if something has Joe’s name on it, then I’m going to end up reading it, and I’ve wanted to try out his non-superhero stuff for quite a while. Now that he’s brought back Joe’s Comics and is publishing more books once again, it is as good a time as any to jump in on his work.
And first among his new titles is Dream Police, which is published through Image Comics. Dream Police has one of the most unique premises that I’ve seen in comics: a dreamscape world policed by cops who hunt down rogue dreams and investigate murder mysteries and the like. My summation doesn’t do the premise justice I’ll say, and you have to read the comic to appreciate it. Suffice to say, this was a really good first issue, introducing me to the characters and the world, and the artwork was fairly good too. Could have been better in a few cases, but the bar is indeed set quite high.
The protagonist of the story is dream cop Joe Thursday, who is partnered with an old friend Frank Stafford. Together, the two of them are fairly run-of-the-mill dream cops, until we begin to see what really happens behind the scenes in the Dreamscape. Starting with a Code 477 (dragon out of control!) and then to the specific case that the two cops work on, a 4-17 (shifter resisting authority), we see that not all is well with this dream world, and the ending of this issue certainly bears that out. This is a dream world after all, and there are lots of hidden mysteries that are a part of it.
While Joe and Frank are fairly average characters in that they are basically noir-inspired, with all that entails, I found their interactions to be quite fun actually. Simplistic and without any kind of flash and bang that hints at a grandiosity that isn’t there. The grandiosity, the epic, that’s in the setting, and not the characters, although bit by bit we also see how layered these characters, and that we really need to dig past the surface details for both of them. That is part of the fun and the charm of this issue.
The best scene of the entire comic has to be when the two cops investigate the Code 4-17 and Joe ends up putting a gun against the head of a seemingly dead cat. Hilarity ensues in the conversation that follows between the two of them, and I just couldn’t stop laughing all throughout that scene. JMS never goes for over the top humour in his comics, preferring to be a bit more subtle and less flashy with it, so this entire scene is a good example of that. Almost trademark JMS I’d say, based on my experience with his work.
And of course, this is a dream world, so in addition to the good dreams you have the bad dreams as well, and the Nightmares of the Dreamscape are quite horrific. Their dialogue is a bit basic and the horror of their… presence is based largely off their visual design, but the reactions of the characters, especially the protagonists, lend them an air of detachment and mystery nonetheless. Plus the whole creepy vibe, which is always present and can really freak you out, IMO.
Sid Kotian does the linework here with Bill Farmer doing the colours and Troy Peteri doing the letters. The cover art itself is by Sid and Bill, and while it doesn’t really tell you what happens in this issue, it is still representative of the characters and the setting, not to mention that it even hints at the final twist of this issue, which is pretty damn freaky. Sid Kotian does a pretty good job of the art here, although sometimes he goes for a bit of vagueness in the characters’ faces, and that’s a turn-off. He gets ample opportunities to do different things here, and he certainly makes full use of them. Bill Farmer’s colours are usually subdued and reflect the noir style of the writing, so that’s a pretty big plus there as well.
Overall, I’m quite impressed with this one. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title since I didn’t really know anything about it before I dived in to this issue, but the experience certainly bears out and I’m looking forward to the second issue.
Posted on May 5, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Bill Farmer, Comics, Comics Review, Cops, Crime, Dragons, Dream Police, Dreams, Dreamscape, FantasyD, Frank Stafford, Image Comics, J. Michael Straczynksi, Joe Thursday, Joe's Comics, Noir Fantasy, Review, Review Central, Shifters, Sid Kotian, Talking Cats, Troy Peteri, Urban Fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.