Review: “Dream Police” #1

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Full of creative ideas and engaging protagonists, “Dream Police” #1 kicks off to a solid start as the narrative establishes the full potential of its series. Readers will find themselves drawn to the supernatural police procedural. The “Dream Police” series offers a promising concept, which will hopefully lead to some more exciting installments.
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WRITTEN BY: J. Michael Straczynski
ART BY: Sid Kotian
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: April 30, 2013

Detective Joe Thursday works in a city that never sleeps and the sky is always nighttime. Thursday works with his partner, Frank Stafford, in the dreamscape. Their job is to protect the dreamers and keep them from bleeding into other dreams. But sometimes the dreamer can take things too far, leading into unwanted nightmares. Thursday and Stafford have to make sure the night shift doesn’t end up killing them.

Writer J. Michael Straczynski is clearly having fun mixing surrealism with police drama. In the opening pages, Thursday and Stafford have to deal with a domestic dispute that suddenly turns into a trippy hallucination. The dialogue at first sounds like something you would naturally hear on a regular cop TV show. And then, Straczynski twists the scenario around and has the words spoken by a talking animal.

Because Straczynski has set up the fantastical elements of the story so neatly, readers will find themselves rooting for the protagonists. I like the witty banter between the two detectives but there is no antagonist, no threat to their partnership. I want Thursday and Stafford to do more than just handle random day-to-day cases. Straczynski has established the procedural aspect of the series, but the narrative never goes deep into the detectives’ personal lives.

Sid Kotian’s glossy artwork depicts the mannerisms you would normally see on a cop TV show. In the domestic dispute, notice how Kotian frames the panel from low angles. Because the camera is aiming up, Stafford and Thursday look taller and tougher than their suspect. With the scene grounded in reality, the suspect has tears in his eyes because he is truly sorry for hitting someone he shouldn’t have.

I really like Kotian’s character design of the Nightmares. Wearing a black suit, the Nightmares have elongated arms and a top hat on her head. They even have a metal mask on their faces, but the bottom half of their jaw is missing. What’s hiding behind the mask even frightens the detectives to the core.

“Dream Police” #1 is an interesting introduction to readers and establishes its surreal concept very well. This is a police procedural with a cool twist, but it needs a big bad threat to take it to the top.

Review by Jorge Solis

Official Score