Previously: Dream Police #11
Dream Police #12 | Written by: J. Michael Straczynski | Line art by: Sid Kotian | Color by: HiFi | Letters by: Troy Peteri & Joshua Cozine | Publisher: Image Comics | Imprint: Joe’s Comics
With its final issue, Dream Police delivers a conclusion that is remarkably satisfying, while also strictly adhering to the adage “Leave them wanting more.” Not only do I want more; I want so much more, you wouldn’t believe it.
After the penultimate issue was so good and set this ending up as well as it did, I found myself in a familiar position: I was worried this final issue would not deliver. It’s weird because you would think there would be no reason to fret, but a series finale is a far different beast to a penultimate issue. You have to wrap things up, but you also have to keep things from becoming overly melancholy; those things must be accomplished while also making the decision as to whether you will end will a definite stopping point or merely a turning point. I can say, unequivocally, Dream Police ends well and provides a fantastic bow for anyone who has been reading since issue #1.
Case in point, just when you thought the twists and turns were behind us; that this issue would just be the comic equivalent of an office retirement party, J. Michael Straczynski had one more trick up his sleeve. Not only does the plot keep developing until the very last panel, but we get something here that seems absurd, but it works so well: Captain Ross gets a hero turn; he drives this issue forward for at least 80% of the time. Here’s a character who has largely been secondary, at best, for the first 11 issues, and now the series finale centers on him. Not Joe Thursday, the lead protagonist, or either of his two partners, Kate Black and Frank Stafford, but Captain Ross. And it works so well. Ross is not only a pivotal character in Joe’s life, but he’s a badass to boot.
Throughout the course of this issue, on top of Ross leaping to the top of the list for best characters of the series, we also meet an Elder, get one last bit of Kate Black’s signature smartass mouth (She’s still the best character; sorry Ross), and Straczynski throws in a Bible quote out of nowhere, because that’s just what he does: talk about shooting someone in the face and then get all deep on you.
Speaking of that Elder, that is just one item this issue provides to the awesome team of Sid Kotian and HiFi to illustrate. The setting for this series has consistently allowed Kotian and HiFi to beautify its pages with countless dreamscapes and mystical creatures, but this issue may contain the very best one: the Simulacra. Simulcara guard the path to the Elders, and they are awesome. If I were a better cosplayer–and in significantly better physical shape–I would love to have a go at recreating this brass ninja Centurion, but I’m afraid that will have to be a thought that remains in the dreamscape… for now.
In the end, Dream Police #12 delivers a fitting conclusion to its story while leaving the door open for its readers’ imagination to keep the story moving forward. I am happy to be able to say that because it is not only the final Dream Police issue, but it is the final Joe’s Comics issue and the final comics issue to be written by J. Michael Straczynski. In this issue’s back matter, Straczynski writes a letter explaining the intricacies of his decision to step away from comics, for the time being. I wish him the best in his other endeavors, and I look forward to the several television and film projects he is currently working on. I do hope the story of Joe Thursday, Kate Black, and Frank Stafford lives on in a future project, but I suppose that’s just the dreamer in me.
Dream Police #12
Simultaneously wrapping up the story we have been reading for 12 issues and managing to introduce new elements and developments to keep the story moving forward long after the final panel is read, Dream Police’s series finale delivers in all the right ways, putting a fitting cap on an entertaining series and the comics writing career of J. Michael Straczynski.