Dick Tracy has finally found his way into the year 2031, battling cybercrime and a weaponized scam-based version of the Cloud. Still, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Crime is crime, and Dick Tracy is forever!
One of the things I have most admired about this miniseries is the fact that each issue is so expansive and ambitious that it could easily be its own miniseries. Dick Tracy Forever is bursting at the seams with ideas. It’s clear that Michael Avon Oeming has had these ideas percolating for quite some time, so to see him letting it all out there is very exciting.
Occasionally, there are some stumbles. This issue packs a ton of exposition about the world of 2031 into its pages, which some scenes feeling like walls of text getting us caught up on what Tracy’s plan is, as well as giving us more interesting ambiguity as to what’s real and what isn’t, much like last issue. The issue here is that it can occasionally obscure Oeming’s incredible artwork (more on that in a minute) and it can feel like we’re getting so much thrown at us that it’s hard to tell what’s pertinent and what’s fun world-building. There’s quite a lot of both in this issue, which again felt like it could have maybe been split into two to allow some of the ideas and characters to breathe.
Then again, Tracy himself isn’t much for taking it easy (unless it’s to catch a movie with his dame), so the breakneck pace really suits the character at the very least. Even the marathon of twists and reveals feel very much in line with an over the top detective movie or serial.
Still, when it works, it works splendidly. As with the rest of this series, the comic looks great. The futuristic cityscapes feel attainable and realistic, while still having a bit of that classic “futuristic art deco” feel that brings to mind movies like Dark City and shows like Batman: The Animated Series.
The character designs feel true to Chester Gould’s original out-there sketches, with the highlight being Brilliant Smith, here a literal googly-eyed brain in a jar. The characters that carry over from previous issues feel perfectly updated for the setting, but still recognizable as the folks we’ve followed in past stories.
Taki Soma’s colors are exquisite, with every panel popping right out of the page. The series’ use of differently colored Ben-Day dots has been one of my favorite design elements, simultaneously evoking the look of a Sunday newspaper strip and giving things kind of a cinematic feel, almost like the lens of a camera flaring off of the bright-as-can-be characters. This especially works in this issue, giving things more of a neo-noir, Blade Runner-esque look, perfectly suiting the time period.
The dialogue continues to be a blast, both earnest and hilarious in equal measure. The futuristic setting lends itself to such fantastic technobabble as, “Look at the spazmotronic through lines left in the multifloop capacity fluxer!” Touches like this (as well as Tracy’s reactions to them) reinforce the playful tone of the book, while still allowing Tracy to teach us a valuable lesson in his rulebook: that futuristic problems require old school solutions.
All in all, this was a pretty wild and fun way to cap off this miniseries. So many of the little pieces from past issues carry through to the following one, so this is definitely a story that I look forward to revisiting in trade. If you haven’t read this series yet, I urge you to snag them now. It’s a wild ride.