• Dick Tracy Forever #1 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review



    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: April 24th, 2019.
    Written & Illustrated by: Michael Avon Oeming
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    Hot on the heels of the excellent Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive series comes Michael Avon Oeming’s take on the classic detective character, Dick Tracy Forever. The first page of this first issue opens in 1931 with a story called The Cost Of Living. Dick Tracy has just learned from Chief Brandon that The Brow, a man Tracy worked hard to put behind bars, is out on parole. Tess Trueheart reminds him that it’s date night, but Tracy is understandably upset. Still, he owes Tess, which she points out, they decide on a night out… until a flatfoot comes in with a case file. Tracy agrees to meet Tess at the theater and promises he won’t be late. After all, this is just a simple robbery!

    Some minor (not major) spoilers do follow, so proceed with caution.

    But of course, it isn’t. He quickly learns that the robbery of a fancy mansion owned by Mr. Rackam was pulled off by a man ‘dressed like Houdini’ wearing a ‘face mask.’ There’s nothing missing, but straps and rope were found at the scene of the crime and the would-be burglar repelled his way out of a high window to make his escape. Tracy follows Rackman to the theater, the same theater he was supposed to see Chaplin’s City Lights with Tess at, and notes that his main dame is there with another man! He goes over to break it up, realizes it was a mistake and she was there waiting for him, and promptly turns around to that Rackam is gone. Firebrand that she is, Tess hops behind the wheel of her car, gets Tracy into the passenger seat and gives chase…

    The second story is Crash Manhattan. It opens with Tracy talking to Pat Patton about some stolen radio equipment that belonged to the producers of his favorite radio show, Crash Manhattan. He heads to the studio to check out the scene where the cigar chomping producer shows him the equipment room where the missing gear, worth thousands, was last scene. He pokes around and finds an open vent but before he can get much further someone drops some heavy gear on his head and knocks him out.

    From here, he has a weird fantasy/dream where he chases down Kid Manhattan who is trying to run off with some high tech radio gear. When he snaps out of it, he realizes he’s chasing down The Brow - or is he? A car squeals away and Tracy winds up bagging the Nelly Vokes, the actor who played Kid Manhattan in the show who just so happens to be a stooge for The Brow. The Chief and Pat fill Tracy in on The Brow’s scheme, after which Tracy comes up with a plan of his own.

    The third story is Unfinished business, which opens with Tracy and his tommy gun busting into a criminal headquarters looking for a ‘Dapper Dan’ who likes to break the law. He finds Flattop inside, but that isn’t who he’s looking for. He finds a few other familiar faces in the confines of the old warehouse, but he’s out for one specific guy.

    Michael Avon Oeming spins a solid yarn here, combining hardboiled detective action, tough guy police work and solid humor quite nicely. The stories move at a quick pace and tie together nicely, and it’s clear that some of what we see in this first issue is going to spill over into upcoming installments. His writing and drawing style works well here, he rightly portrays Tracy as a square jawed instrument of unflinching justice, a man who has trouble putting his fiancée above his job despite his best efforts to do so. He’s obsessed with seeing justice served and will do whatever he needs to do, within the confines of the law of course, to make sure that happens. The story pays tribute to some of the classic villains from Tracy’s past while pushing things into an interesting, new direction that feels both fresh and interesting and delightfully retro at the same time. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. Without wanting to spoil the ending, it sets up some intriguing options for further adventures.

    Good stuff. It’s a nice looking book with some great line work. The colors by Taki Soma and lettering from Shawn Lee is also top notch. Variant cover enthusiasts will appreciate the very cool Kyle Baker alternate cover that’s available and, oh, there’s a fun crossword puzzle in the middle of the issue!