After three issues of meticulous universe building (but very little arc), Dream Police starts to tiptoe towards a major storyline. And issue #4 marks the start of what might be a fascinating development for this new series.
Here’s the official word from Image:
The recurring phantom of someone Detective Joe Thursday suspects may have been his former partner—despite the fact that no one else remembers him—leads Joe to start asking questions nobody should ask about the history of the Dream Police, and how they really came into existence. The deeper he goes, the more isolated he becomes, and the more dangerous his world becomes. How far will Joe go to find the truth? And will his partner Katie Black go with him…or turn against him?
Dream Police, which, for the most part, has read like a hybrid of Dragnet and Sandman, has been enjoyable not so much for its clever premise and innovative characters (in truth, it lacks both), but because writer J. Michael Straczynski’s has one of the best minds for universe building in the comics business. It’s true — read the first three issues of the run and you’ll see Straczynski’s deftly establishing rules for a parallel universe where slumbering dreamers act out all their nighttime fantasies while a precinct of magical detectives protect them the dangers of the dream world. The first few issues have played out in classic police procedural style — a crime, an investigation, and a bust. While the series began with two male detectives, the last two issues have featured and male and female duo (Detective Thursday and Black, respectively).
Issue #4 initially follows the same rhythm, but just before things go rote Straczynski adds a meta element: Detective Thursday encounters the “phantom” of his old partner who suggests (Inception-style) that maybe Thursday’s reality is just a dream within a dream.
In any other writer’s hands I’d tell you to drop this issue and run, but the fact is I *trust* Straczynski and what becomes clear in issue #4 is that universe building phase of this new series is over and things are gonna’ get real strange, real quick. And I’m looking forward to what comes next.
The art, by Sid Kotian, has really grown on me. While some of his characterization can still look stiff, his full page panels are pretty outstanding here — it’s clear he’s been given creative license to create a dreamscape and he’s taking that job seriously.
Dream Police #4 offers a promising start to what could be an awesome arc.