Previously: Dream Police #9.
I have been invested in this series for over two years now. I almost gave up on it, but only during multiple, several-month-long hiatuses when I wasn’t sure if its creators had already given up on it. Dream Police #10 is vindication for that investment of time, money, and energy: this is the best issue this series has put forth, and it is fantastic.
This issue hits on so many of the elements of this series that make it work: partnership, camaraderie, humor, emotion, action, pseudoscience, etc. From the beginning, this mobius strip of a story has folded in on itself, repeatedly, with each successive pass layering more of these elements onto each other. Here, it all comes to a glorious peak.
This issue begins with a great deal of levity, and it all comes from my favorite character from this series and one of my favorite original characters in a while: Kate Black. J. Michael Straczynski turns her charm up to eleven here, as she plays the part of the reader in questioning why Joe wants to do what he wants to do. In using her to playfully ask these questions, Straczynski disarms the reader of any real power to actually ask these questions or actually challenge Joe’s actions. It’s terrific writing; at the same time, we’re shown Joe, Kate, and Frank becoming a genuine team. What had been two partnerships (Joe and Kate; Joe and Frank) easily morphs into a trio of trust, and it gets there through the comedy present in Kate’s dialogue.
It’s a good thing the issue did begin with all that levity, too, because things get heavy, and they get there very quickly. This is the issue where we finally learn the why of Joe Thursday, and it is not for the faint of heart. Here, again, the way Joe’s origin is weaved into story elements we’ve already seen but weren’t fully understanding is terrific; just as when we learned how Frank had been connected to so many previous things we had seen, in a previous issue.
While the plot of this issue is excellently written, the artwork is also just as good as ever. Sid Kotian’s line art continues to sell the fantasy-noir-detective aesthetic well, and he’s given some nice action to sink his teeth into, as well. Not to be outdone, HiFi is afforded some of the most affecting scenes to date, and the colors pop off the page. Even Troy Peteri’s lettering is on-point in this issue (not that the lettering hasn’t been great in previous issues; that’s just how much I enjoyed this one).
From its first page to its final panel, this issue tells a story self-contained enough to pick up and read but also so well-connected to everything we’ve already seen from Dream Police that it would be a crime to do so. I don’t believe this is officially an “arc finale”, but it most-certainly feels like one; a hell of one, too. Everything about this issue tells you that you must read each one to come before it and makes you eager to read the next. That next issue isn’t scheduled to hit publication until August 31; that is three months from now, but the hiatus feels okay this time. This issue brings some things to an end and begins something else altogether; this hiatus feels planned, and that’s all this excellent series has ever lacked.
Dream Police #10