Soon to be known as one of Dark Horse Comics best series ever, Dream Thief is back in all its semi-superhero, always crime-driven glory. How is the beginning to the new arc? Is it good?
Dream Thief: Escape #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
In a lot of ways this series is like 100 Bullets, largely because its characters are very realistic and also because it’s obvious there’s a lot of research put into every issue to ensure the details are correct. Considering our hero wears a mask that takes him on vengeance missions while he sleeps, and imbues all the memories of the dead who are seeking said vengeance, our hero has a lot of learn every time he kills someone. This means meticulous amounts of detail involved, whether it’s a gay porn star or a professional hitman.
Writer Jai Nitz opens this issue with our hero at it once again, taking out bad people because the ghosts tell him what to do. The story is a bit different this go around, as its focus is more on how our protagonist’s father is tied into the powers of the mask and ultimately getting him out of prison. Oh, did I mention his father’s soul is in another person’s body? Yipes, that’s complicated. One reason this series works so well however, is that there isn’t some heavy plot to drudge through for our protagonist in each issue. Every issue has a beginning and end, because we explore a murder that the Dream Thief is enacting its vengeance on. This allows the story to take an aside with some true crime type stuff, while the main story slowly builds to a boil.
This is justice.
That roughly equates to a very well paced comic book. That’s aided in part by the exceptional art on hand by Greg Smallwood. The guy knows pacing, and is always playing with layouts. So not only is the story a feast of information and intrigue, but so is the art, as there’s always an interesting panel to make things pop and sing. Take for instance the panels below, which give us an interesting zoom effect on the character’s eye, and ultimately his soul.
It also conveys the idea that he’s asleep and has just woken up confused and shocked. It’s a very important aspect to the character, that he wakes up in the strangest of places sometimes hundreds of miles from where he went to bed. This absolves him of the murder in a sense and also ties into the mystical nature of the hero.
Is It Good?
This issue proves Dream Thief wasn’t a fluke or a one hit wonder, and that Nitz and Smallwood are a team to be reckoned with. Dare I say we’re in for another instant classic? Recommended.