Monday, August 15, 2005

Dream Police #1 - A Fairly Cheap Trick

I think the basic premise behind J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato's one-shot for Marvel's creator-owned imprint, Icon, was pretty decent - two cops work in dreams to make sure everyone's dreams go as planned.

However, the conceit wears thin pretty quickly, in my opinion.

Joe Thursday and Frank Stanford are Dragnet-inspired members of the "Dream Police," whose jobs involves making sure, say, for instance, a nun is not forced to have explicit sex dreams against her will.

The cops hunt down the rogue dream maker who is messing with the nun's mind and arrest him.

This was page eight out of thirty-four.

And that was about as far as the concept of a dream police carried me.

Beyond that, I wanted something more than "See, they're dream police! They are police...only involving dreams! Get it? Dream Police!"

I wanted characterization.

I wanted plot.

I got none of that.

I was not all too pleased.

It was not that the rest of the issue was not clever enough.

We have a recurring dream which catches Stanford in a continuity loop. We have a shapeshifting creature run away from the monotony of a particular dream. And we finally have a little kid who is controlling his nightmare so that it is destroying the rest of the dreamscape, including other people's GOOD dreams (one of the best lines is when the monster is throwing a car by the cops, Thursday asks what the make of the car was...when he is told, he says, "That's what I was afraid of. That was somebody's dream car, all right").

And the way that the kid is stopped is funny...and gross. But the gag take SEVEN pages!

SEVEN pages for a fairly clever gross-out gag!


Not cool.

Mike Deodato draws the issue in the Greg Land tradition (in that everyone looks like they stepped out of a photograph), but it works here, as it is in keeping with the realistic nature of dreams.

I can see a very good argument being made that this one-shot was simply Straczynski setting up the playing field, for use in a later series that WILL have plot and characterization in it.

I believe that that is very likely the correct viewpoint.

However, it does not help THIS issue.

THIS issue, I think, was not good enough to recommend.

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Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

I think you were expecting way too much. This felt to me like a lark, a fun ride.

Also, it could easily fit in to Vertigo's Sandman continuity with no real hassle. I can easily see these guys being just another couple of Dream's many minions, and I wonder whether or not JMS had that in the back of his mind all along...

8/15/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Defiant1 said...

I bought this, but you saved me from needing to read it. Hell, I don't even know where I put the darn thing.

8/22/2005 01:07:00 AM  

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