Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Tyler Burton Smith
Artist: Vanessa Cardinall
Colourist: Simon Robins
Letterer: Steve Wands
Release Date: 16th March 2022
People are dying in New York. Nothing new there, but these murders, while all apparently committed by different people, bear identical signatures. There is no connection between the victims, the suspects don’t know each other, and the only constant – other than the M.O. – is a business card for a “Dream Detective” called Stetson.
In this first issue we are introduced to a series of gruesome murders, the perpetrators still at the scene, with no recollection of the murder and claiming they were asleep when the murder took place. Enter detective Finch, disheveled and unsaved; clad only in his skivvy’s, a dressing gown that’s seen better days, bunny slippers and carrying a half eaten burrito.
Managing to still maintain a sense of grit and tension despite the bunny slippers, we swiftly move onto the surreal landscape of Stetson’s dream world. A world full of carnivals and candy floss, talking animals, and clowns… evil, nightmare fueled murder clowns, demons, and terrifying labyrinths with no escape; and Stetson’s job is to go into your dreams, your nightmares and rid your sleeping id of those nightmares.
Stetson, is a barely controlled bundle of rage, hate and bad one liners, new to her chosen profession and being watched over by a long suffering demon who appears to be fervently wishing for another assignment, any assignment than looking after Stetson. There is a reason for Stetson’s slightly unhinged approach to her work, she is on the hunt for a specific dream demon, one that seems inextricably linked to the present murders.
I enjoyed this first issue very much, it is very reminiscent of Image’s Chew series in its style and delivery, with the kind of insane manic energy of Skottie Young. The story itself is fast paced, explosive, and often surreally violent. It’s funny and irreverent and is full of nods to other franchises (the Labyrinth parody in particular made me cackle.)
I’m not 100% sure what demographic I’d say this is aimed at, I can see this title appealing to a wide range of readers, from YA to “mature”, although I do think that some of the references will be better understood by the older reader. While this issue is very funny in places there is quite a dark story underneath it and the balance between the two is worked really well so that neither jars or takes you out of the story.
As first issues go, this is a well paced, fun and frequently explosive funfair ride that is well worth picking up.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek