Previously: Dream Police #7
It’s been over seven months since Dream Police #7’s release last August. That’s a long–long–damn time to wait for a new issue. Luckily, Dream Police’s story is strong enough that I did not need to reread any of the previous issues to jump right into this one.
For several issues, we’ve been following Joe Thursday and Kate Black on their way imminently toward an area known only as The Verge. For all of those issues, even though we got dragons and Nightmares, we haven’t so much as sniffed The Verge, and I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever actually reach the fabled land. In this issue, we not only get there, but we get all over there.
Personally, I believe The Verge is well worth the wait. This place is essentially a Seussian nightmare, by way of Tim Burton. It’s an odd place, lending itself to abstract thought reminiscent of MC Escher or Salvador Dali, but honestly? What most quickly came to my mind was Chuck Jones; yes, he of Looney Tunes fame. It wasn’t Bugs Bunny on my mind, though; it was a little film by the name of The Phantom Tollbooth. If you’ve seen Jones’ adaptation of Norton Juster’s children’s book, then you’ll likely recall The Doldrums. For whatever reason, that is what jumped into my brain while traveling through The Verge, and I love that movie.
Beyond its similarities to other aesthetics, The Verge is also home to some very weird creatures, some of whom just go off quoting Godspell–which, coincidentally, was awesome, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of when the guy starts quoting Paradise Lost in The Crow, but I digress–and a brilliant color palette that transitions from warm earth tones to cool, vibrant blues. As usual, these pages are a treat to look at.
In terms of plot, the issue is a little light in that most of what happens is action-based, which is wholly and completely fine because the action is fantastic. Kate Black is a total badass. Being that she and Joe are all alone in The Verge, the majority of any dialogue is between the two of them, and it is terrific for its continuation of their camaraderie. The entire conceit of this series is that Joe thinks Kate has been his partner forever; he only questions this when he discovers the possible existence of Frank. For this to mean anything at all, the series has to seize on what moments it can and solidify the bond between Joe and Kate, so the reader also won’t question their partnership. J. Michael Straczynski’s dialogue between the two of them handles this perfectly, making it undeniable these two characters know and trust each other completely.
This issue also includes a sneak preview of Black Road, an upcoming series from Image Comics. It’s written by Brian Wood, with art from Garry Brown and Dave McCaig; and, I believe, lettering by Steve Wands. It seems to be a story which follows Magnus the Black, a mercenary of sorts who is caught in the middle of a religious war. It looks very interesting.
This was a very strong return for Dream Police, and I look forward to having this series hopefully returning to monthly issues, with Dream Police #9 scheduled for release next month. Let’s cross our fingers it isn’t delayed; although, this story has been worth the wait so far.
Dream Police #8
This issue is light on plot, but what’s there is fantastic dialogue between Kate and Joe. It’s also heavy on action and the great art we’ve come to expect from HiFi and Sid Kotian who bring to life a place we’ve only heard horror stories about: The Verge.
Dream Police #8 also pads the series’ usually lacking back matter with an intriguing sneak peek at Black Road.