IDW Publishing 2019
By Michael Oeming
Coloured by Taki Soma
Lettered by Shawn Lee
Dick Tracy is Sisyphus, pushing the law boulder up the hill as he struggles for reason and order in a world with none. His attempts at law and order are met with crime and chaos, in the form of unpredictable and absurd villains. But Dick Tracy will never give up trying, no matter the era or incarnation.
We all know who Dick Tracy is and how important his legacy has been to modern comics. If you don’t then seriously you need to research and learn. He is one of the most underrated characters ever created at this stage so I love the fact that IDW and Michael are putting this series out. One of the things that Michael does better than anyone else is this kitsch humour that has been so prevalent in the characters history. I mean c’mon the myriad of villains he’s had is legendary and their names and appearances border on the absurd. Which of course is the exact thing that makes his adventures so delightful to read.
I find the parallels between say the 1930’s and today awfully similar, and if we need more proof of America’s downward spiral to the past check your history (facts not the force-fed garbage). Corruption in elected offices and grease the right palms to get away scott free and well you’ll begin to understand why my thoughts are what they are. So we open up with Dick in his office talking to the Chief and the indomitable Miss Trueheart as they discover the news that the Brow is out on parole. It is a delightful opening and introduces us to our main character and his supporting cast. For the first time in a long time I felt that innocent sense of longing and fun surrounding the issue.
I like the way that this is structured as it has this more modern day sense of a crime drama attached to it. This is how you can update a character without updating the character itself by the method used in telling his adventures. It doesn’t hurt either that Michael who is also doing the interior artwork keeps the style as close to the original as he humanly can. So yeah the way the book flows and getting a peek at how Dick thinks is pretty spectacular to me, also he’s that one true stand-up guy that never backs down from what he believes is the truth.
The interiors here are pretty marvellous. Well except on occasion for Tess’ face because yikes there are moments I am truly horrified by her. The linework is fantastic and that we get to see the detail in the buildings, the cars, the clothing and characters themselves makes this what it is for each individual. Also the colour work is delightful and while I usually want more gradation and other colour tricks not here, it feels like the old four colour comics. The retro feel is sensationally well achieved and I gotta say that it’s a huge draw for me. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show us a stellar eye for storytelling. The way that backgrounds are utilised here is beyond what I could have hoped for as they really bring the city that size and scope needed as well as enhance the moments.
I think they may have possibly exceeded the expectation of IDW and Michael and company in just how well this came out. This is as close to the perfect homage, revival or whatever you’d like to call it that I have ever seen and that is saying something. This is good old fashioned fun plain and simple!