Dick Tracy Forever #1
Dick Tracy Forever is the latest in a recent list of Dick Tracy mini-series (Mike Allred’s Dick Tracy Dead or Alive for example) attempting to bring the character to modern readers. This four issue mini series from IDW features Mike Oeming, famous for his art on “Powers” taking on the role of writer and artist for this Dick Tracy tale, a heavy responsibility whose burden may be leaking on to the pages…
Dick Tracy is so much more than your standard Phil Marlowe/Lew Archer private eye archetype foiling criminal plans with his nifty wrist watch gadget.
When I hear the name “Dick Tracy” I think about the hard boiled detective whipping out a Tommy gun from his yellow coat and firing a stream of bullets at gruesome criminals nicknamed after their uncanny valley appearance (Prune Face, Flat Top, etc.) making them look like the mutants from The Hills Have Eyes dressed up like Al Capone.
Now on to Dick Tracy Forever #1…
Back when I read Powers I remember enjoying the artwork and agreeing with the sentiment that Oeming’s art was a big part of what made the series so distinct. I admired that Oeming’s art had almost a Bruce Timm-esque, cartoony yet adult style to it. Now that Oeming is doing a Dick Tracy series this should be a great chance for Oeming to do some of his best work right?
All right look, I know sounds incredibly arrogant on my end but for me Oeming’s art in this issue is pretty hit or miss. Some panels look well put together and plotted and some action poses you can tell had the proper time and effort put into them. Other times, Oeming’s usually pleasant art style appears rushed and sloppy, distracting me out of the story.
Getting that out of the way, it was encouraging to see Oeming experiment with different types of layouts. I really enjoyed a splash page depicting the lights of a tall city building made to look like a crossword puzzle the reader was invited to solve. It vaguely reminded me of the legendary cityscape designs done by Will Eisner on his series The Spirit and was very fitting for a Dick Tracy comic.
Back to the story, the beginning wasn’t anything too exciting. It was your standard private eye detective story only it didn’t feel like Dick Tracy, it could have been literally any private detective. As I read on I began to ask myself “This is Dick Tracy right? Where are the gadgets? Where are the colorful baddies? Hell, where is Tracy’s yellow coat??”
Well bully for me. It seems that Dick Tracy Forever #1 is a bit of a secret origins issue. Taking clever advantage of its 1931 setting, the plot for Dick Tracy Forever 1 see’s our hero learning that criminals are not only taking advantage of desperate WW1 veterans but are beginning to use more advanced near futuristic technology in their schemes.
This revelation along with being inspired by the technology used on the Flash Gordon like radio drama he loves, Tracy decides to develop some crime solving gadgets of his own like a certain electronic wrist watch.…
The strength of this comic easily came from it’s action. Watching Tracy kick in the windshield of a criminal while waving his police badge in the air is exactly the type of Dick Tracy moment I love to read. Criminals don’t know what him them when Dick Tracy pistols whips them with his revolver. I think my absolute favorite moment of the issue is when Dick Tracy struts out of his car now donning his yellow coat with a Tommy gun in his hand and a sneer on his face ready to get some answers.
Dick Tracy Forever #1 was a bit of a slow burn and only really got a spark going once Dick Tracy really showed up. The art was mixed, but I’m hoping for it to improve in the next three issues. Hopefully now that Dick Tracy is officially making the rounds with criminal scum we’ll get to see more gadgets, bullets and this series turns into what a 1930’s gangster film written/directed by Quentin Tarantino would look like. If you love Dick Tracy you may not get exactly what you’re hoping for here, but it looks to be the start of what could be an intriguing new Dick Tracy adventure.
Dick Tracy Forever #1: Eat Lead Tracy!
- Writing - 7.4/107.4/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10