You know a comic is good when the “To be concluded” on the last page makes you curious, sad and frustrated all at once. I have news for you: That’s how you’ll feel when you reach the end of this issue. That doesn’t mean this issue wasn’t a misstep though, so without further ado, is it good?
Dream Thief #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Behind on back issues? Check out our review of Dream Thief #3 here.
Somebody needs to print the scripts for this series because writer Jai Nitz is a flipping master at character, dialogue and pacing. I’m not sure I’ve read a comic as well paced as this series since Watchmen. You’re never bored, you’re always invested and it’s so damn good it’s impossible to take this for granted.
This issue delves a bit deeper in who the man is behind the mask, which is helpful considering he’s been living vicariously through dead people since issue #1. You see, our protagonist can utilize the memories and talents of those the mask connects with. The trade off is he is compelled to enact justice for the dead as they always were killed.
This issue taps our protagonist into an expert poker player and we’re not talking any lame ass Texas Hold’em. We’re talking 5 card stud baby! Now I know what you’re thinking… who even likes to watch poker in real life let alone read it in a comic? Let me tell you, artist Greg Smallwood nails the much needed inter-character drama.
The poker table is one of many stories between players, between hands, between everything and Smallwood makes the game exciting. This is in large part thanks to his ability to draw excellent expressions. There are three full pages of 9 panels per page showing off a dialogue sequence between two characters. His ability to ping pong back and forth, upping the ante with expressions hammers home the drama of the scene. Without his talent this scene could have easily felt flat and dead.
In a lot of ways this issue is friendly to the loyalists and new readers too. That’s because Nitz explains the powers rather succinctly in this issue. On top of that, the protagonist makes a choice to not kill a character, taking a stand as to who’s really in charge of the powers. The developments of the issue however, reveal things that make him side with the desire of the dead empowering his mask. It goes a long way to showing who our hero is which makes the issue that much more compelling.
- Layouts are great and the boring game of poker is interesting
- Character development for our protagonist
- It’ll be sad to see this book go.
And it’s all ending next issue! Say it ain’t so! Let’s call a spade a spade. This comic isn’t action packed or filled with explosions. It’s a crime comic plain and simple, but it’s paced impeccably, the art is always interesting and there’s a strong development on all friends every single issue. It’ll be sad to see this book go, but maybe it’ll get an ongoing if we’re lucky. If not, but Nitz and Smallwood have shown they are future powerhouses in the comic book industry. The bottom line is there is some master class storytelling going on here and you’d be a fool to miss in on it.
Is It Good?
Yes. If it’s this good in the single issue format just imagine the collected edition. Dear god!