by Matt Puddy
This week we have another new title in the already growing stable of Joe’s Comics – Dream Police. Well, I say new, but actually Dream Police originally debuted in 2005 under Marvel's Icon imprint. A single issue by J. Michael Straczynski with art from Mike Deodato Jr. then nothing else. Until now.
On this occasion the artist joining him is Sid Kotian. Kotian is also the artist on Apocalypse Al so the artwork is certainly familiar.
Dream Police is pretty much exactly as it sounds. In the opening we meet Joe Thursday and his partner Frank, who have been partners on the force since as far back as they can both remember. Bickering like an old married couple, every day they head out from the station to various calls in response to dreams and situations going awry. These range from a dragon that didn’t want to go away, to a thespian cat who felt that dying in a dream instead of living the happy ending he was due to provide his dreamer, fit more with his “style!” Joe and Frank are there to make sure that things work out right and prevent the nightmares getting involved. This is maybe not as easy as it sounds when a dapper gentleman dressed top to toe in black, sporting a white half face mask arrives even though he's not required.
It’s a delicate balancing act it seems which Joe enjoys because part of it means he can see the false realities that the dreamers inhabit, as well as the truth of the landscape around them as welll. Even the random elements are enjoyable such as the creatively made restaurant that changes the pocket reality that it resides in, changing the decor and food to match.
This issue also explores the dangers that Joe can face such as lucid dreamers who realise the power they can hold during a waking dream state, but also the much more serious threat of what the nightmares can actually do. Something lies beneath the polite exterior and mask, and the reveal of their secret faces is enough to avert the situation. One that has gotten Joe shot several times, but as an officer he has the luxury of not dying.
A visit to the regular haunt for refreshment leads to the most interesting changes to it all, as Joe’s partner changes from Frank to Katie and even Joe doesn’t notice. Just like he was in a dream himself...
After the last title on Joe’s Comics didn’t really catch my eye I was at least a little wary of this one. Kotian as well isn’t a bad artist too but not one of my favourites either, so his style of using some quite heavy shadowing with a lot of fine small details isn’t completely lost on me, but still didn’t stop me from wondering what I was about to get into.
The combination of the landscape of dreams and the story did pleasantly surprise me. It has a real feel of a Dragnet-style cop drama through its narration, but with lucid and fluid surroundings (complete with dwarf builders) that adds a different dimension to it all. Literally. For my reservations about what this could be, I was happy to be reading a new and innovative tale with an even bigger twist in the end of it all.
If you’re looking for something new and off the wall, I don’t think you can go wrong with this lighthearted jaunt into some dream time mystery.
Matt Puddy is ready to tackle Marvel latest big event.