The American dream is a concept that’s rooted in our history; an abundance of opportunity. The dream itself is a promise of sorts, a promise that anything can happen, and it will if you’re imaginative enough. We go to sleep at night and there’s a whole world we can explore. A whole world that’s uncharted and without limits, but what if there were? This new series proposes that yes, there are limits and they’re being watched by the Dream Police, so does this concept work and more importantly, is it good?
Dream Police #1 (Image Comics)
The book opens with a detective named Joe Thursday laying out the basics of the Dreamscape. 100 million people frequent it every hour and it’s the job of he and his partner to keep the dreams in line. The dreams are sort of citizens, whose job it is to deliver a dream, as if they were actors in your dream. They are quickly called upon to check in on a shapeshifter dream who is giving its patron a bit too bad of a dream. You see, if the dream gets too bad a nightmare appears and those are nasty beings that deliver something that’ll stick with the dreamer forever.
I love how the dragon is just chatting them up.
Aside from the basic premise there is some interesting introspection in the protagonist. He’s not so comfortable in the Dreamscape, at least not completely settled. Something isn’t quite right and he can’t pin what it is which creates a sense of otherness. Writer J. Michael Stracynski has himself a story that’s akin to Dark City, pardon the connection, as there’s a magical dreamscape that’s not adding up completely. This adds a bit of mystery to an already mysterious story and it works wonderfully as it draws you in.
Another connection is how the story also has dark cloaked men similar to Dark City who are an ominous collection of characters, only in this case they are the nightmares themselves. The design of them is rather creepy, as when they tip their hats they take their whole top half of their heads off.
The world isn’t all dark and ominous however, as dreams can be fun too. There’s a particularly fun sequence where the cops are at a restaurant that’s constantly changing. You sit down eating a burger and it’ll quickly change to Chinese, then Indian.
The pencils by Sid Kotian are pretty good, with the strength coming more in the layouts than the actual line work. It’s a bit too rough around the edges for my taste, but it’s made up for by the nicely flowing panels. He also tends to have smaller panels containing long shots that reduces the detail of the figures. This creates a sense of distance from the characters that’s not to my liking, but it does imbue a sense of disconnection the dreamscape is assuredly creating.
Why doesn’t it matter?!
Is It Good?
It is a good comic indeed. The world is well rendered and the premise is fascinating. The nightmares could get their own book, they’re that cool, and dreams have never been so interesting. Do other countries have an equivalent of the American dream? If they don’t they might want to pick this book up and jump on this concept make it their own.