Previously, “Issue #4“.
At the end of last month’s issue, we were left with the impression that issue #5 would bring a trip into the mysterious area known as “The Verge”. While this issue put that adventure off for another month, the events it does include are nonetheless as intriguing and clever as I’ve come to expect from this series.
In Issue #4, Joe Thursday finally came face-to-face with the partner he didn’t even remember having, Frank Stafford, and then he enlisted the partner he thought he had always had, Kate Black, to help him figure out just what the hell is going on with his job, his life, and the entire Dreamscape. Issue #5 sees the natural progression of Joe and Kate’s investigation, as they search their precinct–which they realize they don’t even really know anything about–for clues to solve the mystery of Frank Stafford’s existence.
These issues absolutely fly by; they always end up feeling very short, but that’s the nature of slowly unfolding a semi-noir mystery: it takes a fair amount of time to communicate almost anything. While I do wish this issue were longer, I love what does happen in it. Joe and Kate continue to ooze good partnership with every little interaction they have; that’s helped in this issue by some neat comic relief involving magical stairs. Dream Police is focused very heavily on the importance of partnership, so it can’t be overstated how imperative it is to make the reader believe these two detectives as partners.
While the issue didn’t include a trip to The Verge (hopefully next issue!), we did get a return trip to the file room and the discovery of an entirely new area, The Recruitment Office. Without spoiling the issue’s details, I’ll say I love the use of magical elements in this issue. First, in the file room, and then with the stairs that lead to The Recruitment Office. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of a Harry Potter vibe, and then the recruiter felt very much like a whimsically sad character from Hayao Miyazaki’s mind; what a fantastic mashup that is, right? Harry Potter and Miyazaki.
The only complaint I really have is the length of the issue, and I can’t even say with certainty that the issue is technically “short”; just that it feels that way. Regardless, this is another winner of an issue for J. Michael Straczynski, Sid Kotian, Hi-Fi, and Bill Farmer. The story elements continue to pull me ever-forward into fantasy, while the artwork extends the Dreamscape further and further into my waking world with the continued introduction of extravagantly designed–and sometimes nightmarish–creatures. I can’t wait to pick up the next issue and keep going down the rabbit hole.