ADAM12 CHAPTERS 1-5 COMIC REVIEW: Philadelphia Fiefdom

ADAM 12 COMICADAM12 CHAPTERS 1-5
Writer: Gigio Longo
Artist: Nick Suders
Publisher: G. boTIC Productions
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche, Ain’t It cool News)

There’s something to be said for the special warmth one receives from comics set in your hometown, even if the time period, political climate and lead character present very different topographical and sociological maps of what you know.

ADAM12, a Wizard World Philly 2014 find, is the story of man stuck in the same malaise many succumb to as we leave behind early adulthood and settle into, “ohhhh, fuck, this is life.” Surrounding that trumpeting of servitude, Longo and Suders create a most probable tomorrow for America given our absolute lack of direction and societal ambition. The US government files for bankruptcy, the Chinese now own us, and class warfare is a literal manifestation instead of simply a news bumper before commercial break.

Adam has accepted this world, but simply can’t bring himself to live in it. Many daydream during their day jobs, Adam however is daydreaming of all his past lives. Nagging girlfriend, no problem he’s in Camelot. Boring bureaucratic paper pushing at work, no worries, there was always the Garden of Eden. These visions become more frequent and more vivid as Adam learns his visions are merely memories of his last tries in creating paradise.

There are many other kitschy Sci-Fi trappings throughout the title from mystical eggs of creation (felt a little like the Ukrainian blessing of the graves from when I was a kid), killer damsels trying to unlock creation and force Adam’s cooperation in the process.

There’s a lot of fun in this book and really the Philly stuff is just icing for hometown folks, you’ll still enjoy Adam’s journey through our near tomorrow even if you can’t tell a Pats from a Ginos.

I have but two suggestions for the creators to humbly consider for their sophomore effort. Suders definitely wields a more cartoon styled pen, which gave me concern after his writing counterpart described the dark, dire and dank world he had authored. It works though in keeping the book from becoming too morose. All I ask of Nick is that he keeps his pencils tight and true. Page 1, chapter 2 if you get my drift.

For Longo, I ask that he pockets a few concepts for future endeavors. There’s a lot packed into the pages of ADAM12, and while no concept was extraneous, I know I would have just been fine and dandy with a dude about to cycle through his 12th round of existence. Let Adam recreate the Garden of Eden in the here and now on South Street, because God knows we need it.

DEATH SENTENCE GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Celebrity, Superpowers, Life

Death Sentence CoverDEATH SENTENCE OGN
Writer: Monty Nero
Artist: Mike Dowling
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka – Optimous Douche, Ain’t It Cool News

We all contemplate the question, “why am I here” eventually in life. But the question becomes even more poignant when it is posed with a definitive expiration date set upon our exit. As normal humans the majority of us create our benign bucket lists with a few outliers trying to make one final mark in the foolish belief their actions will be remembered against the vast backdrop of human existence. DEATH SENTENCE flips this model. People infected with the G+ virus will eventually see system shut down before they check out 6 months after infection, but prior to that they get to live the life of pure comic book fantasy with a burst of greatness before they are finally extinguished.

Even though G+ is a global virus, we are told the 6 chapters of the OGN from those that will be most remembered when alien archeologists go through the records of this time period. Where most will get powers on the level of Grant Morrison contrived mutants; Weasel, Verity and Monty transcend the ordinary and in the process raze the world. What you unleash from G+ is tied to imagination, essentially in how and what ways can you see and manipulate the atomic kaleidoscope of the universe. Through these characters, Nero not only fucks up the Western Hemisphere on grand comic scale, he does it through the looking glass of those that torture themselves by creating.

Verity is by far the sympathetic epicenter of DEATH SENTENCE because she is most like us before the plague. I know a million Veritys, artists who sell their soul to graphic design jobs and sweat shop printers by day so they can keep food on the table at night. Her story is the most tragic because all she really wants is to have a life of normality. Weasel and Monty were special in our oh so Kardashian sense of the word prior to contracting G+. Weasel the rocker and Monty the Russell Brand type comedian/personality are distant from us, but Nero wisely chooses to show us snippets of their lives before and outside of the celebrity so we are fully vested in the end of days.

Most artists are slightly crazy, it just seems to be a side of effect of seeing into string of the universe where they can pluck ideas and give them tangible form. Monty is the hyperbole of the hyperbole. Since his career was based upon the shock of his words and sexual exploits, his was the most dangerous contraction of the disease. A man essentially whose bucket list had but one line item: anarchy.

Before you hate too much on Monty though, his rise to power is hilarious and his control of London though quite cruel, was also hilarious in the darkest sense of the word.

Weasel and Verity become the task force to take him out, but not before there own more personal trials and tribulations inside a facility meant to cultivate the finest of G+ powers to their fullest potential.

DEATH SENTENCE is one of the truest representations of super powers appearing overnight. The class lines would be instantly divided, the powerful would overcome the weak (even for a laugh) and like any other time in history there would be a culling before a new age could dawn.

I read the first issue of DEATH SENTENCE many moons ago and remembered loving the raw humanity almost more than the super powers. Like I was embarking on an “Angels In America” type journey without all of the bad Flock of Seagulls haircuts on the dying. What I realized after absorbing all 6 issues and the bevy of extras like a Q&A with the team dissecting pivotal moments, was that DEATH SENTENCE was going to transcend death to also unveil the meaning of life. Mission accomplished gents.

Avoiding Hypocrisy – Blogging the Bad for Once

rob-patey-sad-faceI blog with the highest of frequency and candor about my successes in life, so I want to avoid the traditional artist hypocrisy of cowering when my ego is suffering from the rawest bruise ever struck.

I parted ways with my employer today. We both had an inkling it wasn’t going to work out pretty much from day one, and I am almost thankful (though undeniably scared about my future) they broached the subject in a timely fashion. So when they said it wasn’t working out, I didn’t perform the traditional knee jerk defense because I truly wasn’t happy with the decision I made. Quite frankly, the only reason I didn’t leave sooner is I simply refuse to be the first to throw in the towel. I know in the grand scheme of an uninterrupted fifteen year career, I should consider this a quick 4 week anomaly. But your first rejection, when you kind of want to be rejected still stings a tad.

To be truly honest with myself it wasn’t losing the job that causes the sting to throb, it was quite frankly ignoring my gut on what the now clear voice of hindsight was telling during the interview process. Also, I am just now realizing how valued I was at my prior place of employment. Actually, I take that back, I realized how valued I was at my prior employer the moment I resigned. What I am dealing with now is seeing a support network via FaceBook from these folks that makes those past feelings shine so much more brighter.

Rejection should and could cut the human spirit like a scythe, we are after all social animals. If this day didn’t sting  I would be even more scared about who I am right now. Even when you join a tribe whose war paint clearly causes allergic reactions to your skin, the cognoscente person will take a moment of self reflection to ponder why. The sociopath will be unaffected, and only the truly blind with arrogance will deflect all fault to the other party.

What I chose to do as I sauntered away from this tribe in my coconut wheeled SUV, is take stock of not where I have been, but where I want to go next. Mistakes are only unforgivable when repeated.

Oh the places I want to go

  • Marketing – but let me be clear it must be content based. I must be with an organization that understands that capturing market share comes from invoking true emotion in prospects
  • Places that want a unique voice – My style is not for everyone, thankfully Google has awarded my style with the recent Penguin and Panda changes, but not all places will necessarily agree.
  • Team I must be part of a team –  I am too much of an extrovert, I feed off the energy of others and didn’t realize that my soul would truly suffer in solitude.
  • Technology, Entertainment and Advertising: These are my career loves, but again the future will be an exercise in ensuring those…I guess we can call them industries…are a truly honest and creative brand (or sincerely want me to make them that)

If you think my lament is admirable and honest and you want a content or lead ten marketer, here is my  resume (Robert T Patey Resume 06-14-2). I’ll also encourage you to read some of my marketing related content to ensure my voice resonates well with your eye holes.

When I bleed, I bleed ink and your readership truly helps cauterize the wound.

 

THE LAST WEST GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW! More uplifting than the fate of a Kennedy

the last west OGN coverTHE LAST WEST OGN
Writers: Evan Young & Lou Iovino
Artist: Novo Malgapo
Publisher: Alterna
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

For anyone who thinks the Kardashians are the First Family of the end days, I would like to introduce you to the Wests. A take on Kennedy Camelot, except the Wests turned back the course of the 20th century while the Kennedys pushed us (and their pelvises) forward.

My three regular readers know that my appetite for alternate realities and view askew history is more voracious than Cookie Monster 10 years into Type 2 Diabetes. When I met Lou Iovino at this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia, he asked me if it was the Xerox page power point slide with a thumbnail of Norman Reedus saying “He was not at this booth” that drew me in. Great lead in line, which spurred Lou and I to have a great chat. What drew me in though, was the haunting cover with atom bomb set against he falling sun. Once I knew that the THE LAST WEST was also an exploration of “what today would be like if the bomb never worked” I decided this would be my first read when I got home.

I appreciate every book that is given to me for reviews by creators, I like a few less, I covet only a fraction of that number. THE LAST WEST, I covet thee, because this book could have easily bore the Image logo (with one or two small caveats that I’ll get to). Big Kudos to Alterna for grabbing up this talented and smart property,

The Wests personify the human existence. We have never explosively propelled to our next evolution without first imploding on despair, tragedy and virtual oblivion of the species. It’s how I have always known God plays D&D, you can’t beat that kind of planetary class balancing.

While Lou and team chose to only focus on the Wests being the catalysts for Great American Fails like the Dust Bowl, WW I and the 1929 crash of the market. With Volume II already set ins tone as you’ll learn in a second I really see a world where the guys could serialize this bloodline. Pontius West, Columbus’ navigator, rat fucker West…you get the idea.

Now, where the Wests stop shaping history as we know it and start creating a Biff’s Casino temporal divergence is right when Robert Oppenheimer was ready to set the world on fire. It was in this moment the Wests said no more, sabotaged the blast, and then scuffled off into the realm of lore.

The Wests are selfish assholes. 2014 sucks. No bomb, no unlimited energy, no other real interest in looking at the nanoverse that allows us to carry porn and video games in our pockets. Instead of Google we have Graham where you have to call for a question and then wait days for an irrelevant answer (you know, like Bing). Instead of plastic cars, we still thrive on metal monstrosities. I would even guess that everyone still has copious amounts of pubes because they dress and have the same haircut as my Grandmother. Time is essentially on pause.

As for why the Wests withdrew at that moment in time is a mystery best left unraveled by Volume I. And it is a nice and tidy little mystery as one ordinary Joe navigates this strange world searching for clues that the Wests existed, while powerful puppets of the family try to keep the family’s name and apocalyptic shame a secret.

I can’t spoil the end of this book because there isn’t one, Lou and crew scadattle right at the top of Freytag’s pyramid. That’s OK, because THE LAST WEST Volume II (Apocalyptic Boogalo) is coming shortly – Kickstarter willing. And honestly, I would mark points against the book if there wasn’t another tale on the horizon. See, the book inventively counts chapters backwards starting at 10. I would think this was written by Zooey Daschanel after huffing glade if the book consisted solely of chapters 10-5.

Now, I must offer two cautions with THE LAST WEST to ensure a flawless experience when they use my Volume III ideas.

The art needs to be as bold throughout the whole title as it was on the first few pages. Through clever panel layout and then stopping time, THE LAST WEST sucks you in with A-Bomb implosion power. While I admit too many thematic panels like the atomic symbol on page one would get hokey, I would encourage Malgapo to try it one or two more times in an arc. Also, keep finding the subtle moments like when the ill fated countdown fizzled. Focal points will help excite some of the more talky moments that are necessity of alternate anythings.

The coloring needs a little more work. I get very uncomfortable around clowns and photo negatives of Al Jolsen, so please for the love of God ease up the “light.” Thomas Kincaid stores are closing for a reason and there does not need to be a comic equivalent of JJ Abrams lens flare.

I don’t think these two suggestions are big hurdles to surmount. It’s also a great compliment to a freshman effort that there are only two things to perk up. I have been much harsher on many books from more seasoned professionals with much larger budgets. THE LAST WEST deserves your time and more importantly your contemplation for what their fictional foible says about our real world circumstances.

 

 

 

WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA 2014 RECAP

indie comicsPay close attention to this man’s shirt. He was selling nothing…except prophetic insight as to what will lie ahead in the realm of comics at Wizard World 2014.

It’s not a slight, merely a marker of where profitability now lies in the land of geek. The high-end talent at this years’ extravaganza inside the Philadelphia Convention Center were squarely in line with the interests’ of the masses. Dr. Who, Walking Dead, the allure of huffing in these stars’ pheromones is what enticed the city of brotherly love (and Jersey). Instead of letting the waned presence of DC, Marvel and Image booths bother me this year, I decided to revel in my own interests outside the funny books and enjoy the exuberant squeals of fans when Whoopi Goldberg, the cast from Firefly would appear around corners. Even Curtis Armstrong, Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, couldn’t walk six steps without a fan hitting his gate or stopping it completely.

I do believe both Marvel and DC should try to crush this bitch in ‘15 to prop up their incoming tsunami of serial movies. But that’s the future, in ’14 indie comics ruled and this even goes for those creators who sit or sat upon continuity high once. There were a handful of big guns, but 98% of them were more interested in passion projects and the future than what they are doing in the bigger publishing run books presently.

I also had so many WTF are the big two thinking conversations that I thought I was a Tron literally inside a message board. Many an indie publisher will be very happy in coming months at the invasion of talent looking to pillage their pages. I won’t drop the dime on any one creator; just know guys that if you could talk about this stuff amongst your circles you WILL find kindred spirits of frustration.

Comics – The Big Guns

neal adamsNeal Adams was on hand basically enjoying the just deserved spoils for his years of labor. Always willing to look up from commissions to share a story or an anecdote, he is the true pinnacle of what the golden comic years should be. His signature on material also isn’t that highly marked up. SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI was pretty close to retail. “Well, what about the creators that charge nothing Optimous?” They are rare and most are still working or talked about names.

JG JONES EMMA FROSTThis is the art of JG Jones. While I know his fame is steeped in DC and BKV I have a hard spot for Emma Frost. JG is working on something and will reveal it soon. He told me, but stole my phone and then slipped me a forget me now pill.

 

 

 

 

Jim Calafiore Jim Calafiore of X-MEN and many a’ other book fame, was on hand featuring a book he recently did with Gail Simone called LEAVING MEGAGOPOLIS. Spurred by fan outrage around the canceling of SECRET SIX, Jim and Gail decided to write a tale they wanted to tell about the safest city on earth until the heroes one day go bat shit. The part that intrigued me the most was the fact the entire story is told from the vantage point of normal folks trying to escape the city, which basically twists a one note concept into some high concept survival horror. Volume II is being talked about now.

 

 

mike s millerI’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating – you want the pre 52 DC than look no further than INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US. Don’t be faked into thinking this is some video game tie-in bullshit, this story packs punch and Mike S. Miller’s art is just as much to do with this success as Taylor’s words. Mike let slip that this book will most likely encompass the five year span that kicks off to the video game (we are in year two right now, so still plenty of time folks) and we might be seeing this book delivered weekly soon in the coming months.

 

 

Agnes GarbowskaI felt really really bad for the things I said about MY LITTLE PONY on this Ain’t It Cool – Poptards – Spoiler Alert – @Mark_L_MILLER – robpatey.com – @mattadlercomics podcast after meeting the book’s delightful artist Agnes Garbowska.

 

 

 

 

zenescope girlsNow, for all my bitching about lack of booth size presence, I will give credit to Zenescope for once again buying a sizeable footprint of space. While there is the cheesecake, this is cheese steak local company who I always give a chance before I get dismissive about some lovely lady lumps. I really really enjoyed the WONDERLAND SERIES, and I’ll admit bias here because I wrote the back-up stories, but also Mark Miller’s JUNGLE BOOK.

 

 

Ethan Van Sciver and Greg Capullo were also on hand. Ethan’s table was buzzing with ton’s of commission work and perusing so I didn’t want to halt a man making money and Greg’s line was 14 miles long. Sorry, I wait in no lines.

Comics – Small Budgets, BIG IDEAS

Again, the ¼ of the hall that was devoted to comics was comprised of 98% indie books. I didn’t cover them all; in fact I didn’t cover many this year. Frankly, for the first time I was discerning and editorialized my coverage as I was investigating.

the last west volume II see a pattern after covering this beat for the past six years, there are some books that will live and die here. Hey, you dig rolling this way and you can profit off your footprint, rock on. I simply can’t cover the same story year after year. This is a cool one and our first foray into the aforementioned indie prevalence, THE LAST WEST is an awesome premise and a quite finely polished book for rolling off presses not fueled by movie or mouse money. What if one family drove all human innovation and then said fuck you once they almost gave us the bomb? A 2014 very different than the one we know. Co-writer, Lou Iovino said Volume II is coming. Oh, for all of you upstarts looking for a best-practice Kickstarter template, feast your peepers on Lou and crew.

 

Gigio LongoADAM12 is a book set in hometown Philly, an apocalyptic Chinese run Philly where a man is seeking to reignite the Garden of the Eden, but still Philly. Written by Gigio Longo with art by a fellow IUP theater grad, Nick Suders, you can catch the first five issues of the six-issue arc now and the final chapter soonJustin .

 

 

 

TRAILER PARK OF TERROR is my one exception to greeting show staples. This redneck Tales from the Crypt has spawned a pretty well done movie and is a really really fun read with a ton of volumes for noobs to dive into. I’ll also admit a personal bias in the fact I am very good friends with one of the stars in the movie, the very talented Trish Stahl who plays Larlene.

night_of_the_80_s_undeadArtist Bill McKay describes NIGHT OF THE 80’S UNDEAD as George Romero meets John Hughes. 3 issues in with fourth on the horizon, I don’t know any child of Reagan who wouldn’t have been drawn to the cover with a zombie filled Delorean just as I was. However, it takes a super nerd to see the Justice League International homage on issue 2.

 

 

 

 

empire christine kerrickI was drawn to Christine Kerrick’s booth because it was such a serene juxtaposition to the rest of the sensory cacophony. Her comic EMPIRE with the beautifully drawn ascending bride on the cover was another strong pull. EMPIRE is a 3 issues series about a girl tragically falling in love amidst the events from the Book of Revelations.

 

 

 

 

primal paper comicsPrimal Paper Comics heralds from Norfolk Virginia and are self described as basically Image with no money. I was able to speak with Justin Cristelli about his title RED KNIGHT. This is the story of a man who was once one of the best superheroes until the day the government required a license. I also spoke with Jeff Hewitt about his book THE ENDS. This is about superheroes at the end of the world, the C and D list heroes since all the good ones have left town. What I like best about PRIMAL PAPER is they are doing this for the love of the game with the appropriate level of dedication. You need more than A book folks for a comic series, the boys at primal are well on their way with many months of material.

quirk booksQuirk Books is at the end merely because they are not quite a comic publisher. They are however firmly steeped in geek and even more awesome they are local to old city. Their books like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND  ZOMBIES and WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS are awesome reads and deserve every bit of the national recognition that put them on the map. They also have a new book called THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO DATING that had one guy dressed as Blade and about as smart as Wesley Snipes afro believing he might actually touch a real woman.

The Merch

I have nothing against merch, in fact I love the world of branded items and statues. Sadly, I don’t have the square footage for cases and my freakish form means there is never a t-shirt or well…anything that can properly draw my 6’ 5” frame. This never stops my eye from wandering though. Now, despite my aversions, I am still aware and the marketer in me marveled at the utter stupidity of this year’s vendors.

cosplay girlsHere’s a tip, if you are selling something not in the realm of geekdom you still MUST have hot girls who are dressed in geek like fare. I’m talking to you foot insoles or iPhone paraphernalia. And even if you are hocking geek wares, still get some hot girls because folks like this dude, who was selling something Bluetooth related had more people in his stand than the rotund steampunk booth across the aisle. </sermon off>

 

 

 

stylinonline.com beltsStylinonline.com impressed me the most with their wide variety of wares. I hooked in by their several hundred feet of belts honoring all realms of geekdom. Dr. Who, superheroes, Sci-Fi…anything to keep pants aloft and butt cracks hidden.

Then, like any typical man, I saw stylinonline’s revealing lady ware. Since my cross-dressing has been relegated these days to Sundays and Christmas, my attention was easily drawn to these awesome robes. Be an Orange Lantern, be Robin, but most of all be comfy in these warm wraps. And yes, I felt the material. Where most merch is about as soft as cardboard, these were actually a really high thread count with a bit of down thrown in for good measure.

 

The Drive Away

Dr Who TardisIt was another great year at Wizard World Philadelphia, especially now that I have accepted the fact comics will no longer be the draw they once were. Honestly, I respecy Wizard immensely for not building false expectations. New York Comic Con has swung their percentages as well away from comics (percentage people, not raw numbers), but still keep the moniker in the title.

The world of geek is wide and vast and I will still valiantly try to get fans of geek TV shows into the comic book afterlife (talking to you bitchy chick dressed like Jane from Firefly who looked at me like I threw up on her shoes for even insinuating the continuity is moving forward at Dark Horse). Just as I was once entreated to watch an episode of Dr. Who after reviewing a comic book written by an episode author.

FABLES 141 REVIEW – The Beginning of the End!

FABLES 141 COVERFABLES 141
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Publisher: Vertigo
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

I opened this issue with as much as dread as desire; my first time in 10 years of reading FABLES and 7 years reviewing for Ain’t It Cool I’ve said these words. I love FABLES and it’s spin-off FAIREST. Willingham’s take on our favorite fairy tale characters living in the modern world has broken so many walls of character development and the nature of literary figures permeating the zeitgeist I can’t even begin to describe what the man has done within the confines of my word count.

It’s all ending though; issue 150 will mark the end of FABLES proper with issue 141 being the alpha chapter of this omega arc (the appropriately named “Happily Ever After.”) I don’t buy for a second that the title will be reflective of everyone’s fate though, especially with the seeds of war mongering, deception and de-evolution Willingham jammed neatly but tightly into these 22 pages.

What surprised me most was that new readers could actually get something out of this arc. I don’t recommend that anyone starts now since it would be like coming in for the last two seconds of a blowjob, but if you only want money shots with no build-up you could. Willingham really does some grand explaining of Rose Red’s new Knights of the Round Table, the strife between her and sister Snow White, skullduggery from the 13th floor mages and a reintroduction of the recently resurrected, and now very feral Bigby Wolf. There is also a moment with Cinderella that has me salivating with hope for some of her FAIREST Bond like adventures to bleed back from whence they came.

To show that he’s not simply playing his end-game, Willingham resurrects a mythos from the Great War in the form of magical entities that were boxed up against their will when they told Gepetto to go pound wood. They are antsy, ornery and all have now found a home inside Rose Red. I have little doubt this is an effort to up her critical hit damage rolls for a final tussle with sister Snow before the end.

FABLES is almost impossible to review at this point outside of play-by-plays and spoilers, so this will most likely be my last words of admiration for the next 9 months. Instead I will spend the time lamenting the looming loss of Willingham’s delicious dialog, Buckingham’s marvelous margins and the end of yet another vivacious Vertigo era.

P.S. For anyone who is jonesing for more FABLES stories, there’s an app for that called the Wolf Among Us by Telltale games. It thrusts you into the life of Bigby back in the Ragan era as he cleans up the slums of Fabletown. Yes, it’s interactive so if you are tech tarded do what I did for my spastic friends. Get someone with hand eye coordination to play and then stream it to a big set with Apple TV or Chromecast so you can watch the story unfold.

DREAM POLICE #2 REVIEW: Sandman’s City Comes Alive

Dream Police 02 coverDREAM POLICE 2
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
Publisher: Image / Joe’s Comics
Reviewer: @robpatey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

I don’t review enough second issues, and companies like Image truly need this sort of PR given their deluge of new titles cropping up. See, there’s this dirty little numbers game with comics, issue ones get so much PR love they sell like gangbusters, you can then watch subsequent issues drop in attention and sales quicker than Justin Bieber’s career.

In many cases this drop off is warranted, since it seems the muse du jour is to develop a tits concept that can be used as a TV or movie pitch, while letting the true intricacies of creating a long lasting serial come secondary (or even lower on the list). This is where I truly appreciate the Image sub-brands like Joe’s Comics and Skybound, it’s an extra hallmark that tells us the exec producers and/or writers are imbedded and dedicated to the comics’ medium as opposed to “get less poor” huckster one and dones.

DREAM POLICE is a title that does not deserve a drop off, and quite frankly warrants a second glance even if you found fault with the first issue. JMS’ exploration of detectives who patrol the land of dreams became far more fleshed out this issue, swapping out cute clichés about naptime, for some true world building, exploration and seeds of distress for our protagonist, Joe Thursday.

That’s right, Joe Thursday, a play on Dragnets Joe Friday. Here is one of those bugaboos purists had with the first issue. This type of word play along with when Joe was flipping through the jukebox in a diner where all of the titles were laden with the word dream really kicked up some vitriol amongst the review and reader community. Personally, if this land is a construct of where we humans go at night when our frontal lobe is on REM overdrive, I think this embodiment of the zeitgeist makes sense. So, fuck you other reviewers for not liking it, and suck on the story goodness I got out of issue 2 as reward for not being an elitist snob.

We learned in issue 1, that while this dream city might look like New York it is only a facsimile. Like other famous fabrications of real world places like Disney World, it takes a swarm of serfdom to keep the wheels in motion so the guests never lose their aesthetic distance. This issue is JMS’ chance to build his classes that consist of: our main cop characters Joe and Katie, who respond when dreams go south; the builders who meticulously craft our real-world settings and then immediately deconstruct them once we wake up (kind of like doozers without the Fraggles); the mighty morphing characters of our dreams or who play us in 3rd person dreams; and of course nightmares. There are others, but these are the big ones for now.

Also introduced in this issue is the high concept that the workers of this world were never once human, nor have they simply always “just been.” Essentially every being is “born” as a wisp and then sort of chooses its role when ready. They are functionally useless, but naïve and scamp-like enough to amuse the denizens of dream land so that they want to protect them. The mystery of this issue arises when one of these wisps is wiped out by a dreamer who can’t control his shit…literally. Junkie dreamers are dangerous, so dangerous in fact it brings out the middlemen between the dreamers and well…God.

I know it’s a lot for one issue and my play-by-play comes across as quite clinical. To balance characterization with creation, Joe Thursday is more than a simple beat cop pastiche; he carries a secret that could tear this and ultimately our word asunder. It’s the heart behind the high concept I frankly demand from a JMS title.

If you’re coming back for Kotian, you won’t be disappointed, he gets noir meets supernatural perfectly. The dans are square-jawed, the dames are delectable and the dreams are out there. If you felt wandering after issue one, this follow-up is your map. If you felt you needed more meat on the bone, then strap on your bib.