Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: DREAM THIEF #1

DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

STORY: Jai Nitz
ART/LETTERS: Greg Smallwood
COVER: Alex Ross
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2013)

Jai Nitz won the 2004 Bram Stoker Award for “Best Illustrated Narrative.” Dream Thief is a new five-issue limited series written by Nitz and drawn by Greg Smallwood. Published by Dark Horse Comics, the series focuses on a man whose body and mind become possessed after he dons a strange mask.

Dream Thief #1 introduces John Lincoln, an Atlanta-based lay-about, cad, and pot-smoker/connoisseur. John tends to get drunk and wake up in strange places; often those places are the bedrooms of women who are not his girlfriend, Claire.

John and his homeboy, Reggie Harrison (a former college football star), go on a double-date at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The two ladies are more interested in Reggie, but John is more interested in the Mumbai Kush he recently scored. The next morning, John wakes up in a strange place, wearing an Aboriginal mask he stole from the museum. Now, John’s problems have been replaced by blood stains and an unsteady memory that suggests he’s been disposing of bodies.

Honestly, when Dark Horse Comics made a PDF of Dream Thief #1 available to reviewers, I was only interested because it was a first issue. But the comic book demigods usually know what’s good for me to read. Often, it is a damn good comic book like Dream Thief #1.

Dream Thief can be described as “dark fantasy,” and “dark” means horror, because if this is not a horror comic book, it is doing one helluva impersonation. Dream Thief scares me; it makes me feel uncomfortable. Jai Nitz heightens the creepy-factor, practically with each page, and he has an engaging character in John Lincoln, lovable ass, esq.

Artist Greg Smallwood draws this as if it were a crime comic book. It’s like Eduardo Risso-100 Bullets gritty with the catchy graphic design of Francesco Francavilla. It melds to become Smallwood’s own unique visual language and graphical storytelling style. Some pages are the art of crime scene comics as eye candy. Will issue #2 be this good?


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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