Sunday, 5 July 2015

Dream Thief, Volume 1 Review (Jai Nitz, Greg Smallwood)


Minor spoilers ahead but that’s only for people who are going to read this. In addition to those readers I’d say DON’T read this crap, spare yourselves the misery! 

Dream Thief reads like anything but a dream. It’s a sloppily written, confusing execution of a potentially decent concept and an utterly boring comic to read as a result. 

John Lincoln is Mr Douchebag. He’s supported by a girlfriend he cheats on regularly so he can pursue his non-existent careers as a stage magician and/or director! One night, when sponging off his more successful friend and attending a museum party, he gets stoned and decides to steal an Aboriginal mask. He somehow gets away with this - and that’s when things get complicated. 

When he goes to sleep, the mask allows for vengeful spirits to take possession of his body and enact vengeance on whoever wronged them in life. When he awakens, John has all the spirit’s memories/abilities and is usually greeted with a bloody mess. Quite how an Aboriginal mask would do this is up for grabs and how any of that makes him a “dream thief” is anyone’s guess. 

The central plot, and I use the term loosely because it’s barely touched upon, is John’s girlfriend is killed - by him. But actually by a spirit who possessed him? I can’t fully recall because, my word, Jai Nitz is a terrible writer! You would think John would spend his time trying to find his girlfriend’s killer when he’s awake and in control of his body, but no - he goes along with whatever plan the vengeful spirit’s got in mind for him, even when he’s conscious! 

I’m baffled why he would even care about her - his behaviour since page one has been that he’s just using his girlfriend. He clearly doesn’t love her, she’s just useful to have around because it means he doesn’t have to get a job! It’s certainly not a convincing motive to the reader! 

And, wow, he takes to this strange new life very quickly! He instantly knows how everything works - maybe tell the reader so they’re not kept in the dark? - even though nobody explains it all to him. And he just decides he’ll roll the dice - wherever he winds up, doing whatever, is what he’s going to do! Avenge my dead girlfriend? Nah, I think I’ll do this thing I just found out about instead!

How does this work - does John have to be in proximity of a ghost to be possessed? Because when he awakens one time, he can see a ghost who calls out to him but he turns away. Can he be possessed by more than one ghost at a time? 

Quite how Nitz managed to get Grant Morrison, Mark Waid and Jonathan Hickman to blurb his book is confounding - he must have dirt on them because this isn’t even half as good as any of those writers’ worst comics! 

The Alex Ross cover is cool, and it’s really surprising that this is artist Greg Smallwood’s first published work because the art is very strong. It’s easy to see why Marvel snapped him up and paired him with Brian Wood for Moon Knight. 

Other than the art, Dream Thief Volume 1 is totally meritless. Shockingly inept writing makes this tedium almost totally unreadable - avoid, avoid, avoid!

Dream Thief, Volume 1

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