Image revives the comic from the Marvel one-shot done by J. Michael Straczynski back in 2005. The premise centers on lieutenant detective Joe Thursday and his partner Frank Stafford. In homage to the television series Dragnet that originated in the 1950s and had several incarnations in the previous decades, Dream Police features characters and dialogue that reflect those of the show. Another source that the comic draws from seems to be The Real Ghostbusters episode 75009 from October 25th, 1986, “Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream.” In the Ghostbusters story penned by Straczynski, a rogue Sandman tries to bring about world peace by putting humanity to sleep and making dreams a reality. The ‘imagination gone amuck’ motif figures heavily in this story, as well.
Thursday and Stafford police things such as dream components who do not play the predetermined roles, lucid dreamers, and other errant, sleep-produced characters. Nightmares, something akin to the Slenderman character popular in urban legend and internet lore, pop in from time to time to help or play an enigmatic role.
Straczynski does a great deal of world building in this issue with ideas and products that come from dream-related materials. Subtle twists and turns by adept readers’ eyes will make the experience of reading this comic more enjoyable.
However, the overall product does not offer anything new or captivating. Ever since The Matrix introduced the idea of an alternative reality that can be remolded by one with unrealized power, the task of drafting a story in such a world becomes a herculean task. For as great as a writer as Straczynski is, he does not execute well with this contrived story. Too many elements seem to familiar, and too many opportunities to create something odd and mysterious fail.
This one is a definite pass.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Sid Kotian Publisher: Image/Joe’s Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 4/30/14