"Dream Thief: Escape #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jai Nitz
Illustrated by Greg Smallwood
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 23rd, 2014
Just when he thought he'd figured out this whole Dream Thief thing, John Lincoln's life got a lot more complicated. It wasn't enough that he gets possessed by the ghosts of vengeful spirits when he sleeps. It turns out that John is just the latest in a long line of Dream Thieves in his family. His father possessed the body of a convict. Now John has to figure out a way to bust his “father-in-a-convict's-body” out of jail to avenge his death.
This is where Dream Thief: Escape turns into an efficient noir story. It's not your average prison break, obviously. There are many more factors at work here. As entertaining as it might be, John says he is not going break his father out of prison “Steve McQueen style.” One of his ghosts had a law degree, so now John has a law degree...sort of. His abilities leave him with the memories and knowledge of the spirits he comes into contact with.
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Although the prison break is interesting, it seems very by-the-book. John puts together a plan and begins to execute it. He hits a snag by the end of the issue that is not unexpected. What's more interesting is the history of the Dream Thief lineage. The first few pages are a flashback, showing John's father and a few other Dream Thieves taking out one of their own that had gone rogue. This doesn't seem like a position that you can just retire from. Once the ghosts being to take hold of you, you're in for life. There's no end. As a result, every time you go to sleep you could encounter a new spirit. At what point does this drive a man insane? Is there a limit to the amount of souls that can inhabit a single body?
Artist Greg Smallwood really brings these flashbacks to life. They're set in Miami and the images look like they're something right out of Miami Vice. John's father sports a white sports jacket over a pink shirt. This is also reflected in Smallwood's retro-style cover. It's amazing to see how similar John and his father look. If it wasn't pointed out that these scenes took place in the past, it would be hard to tell it wasn't the main character.
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As with the first issue, this one is put together in a very structured format in regards to the panel layout. I keep hoping that they expand a bit more, as was the case with the first trade paperback. The art direction really enhances the story with creative choices such as panels shaped in an exclamation point or question mark.
Dream Thief: Escape greatly expands upon the mythos that Jai Nitz created with the first volume. I'm interested in seeing what the potential limits of a Dream Thief are, both mentally and physically. John Lincoln has been busy providing closure for others, but he might finally get a chance to get it for himself by reuniting with his father, even if it is posthumously...sort of.
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