Posted August 1, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Captain Midnight #1

Dark Horse brings yet another classic character into life with its Captain Midnight #1. It looks modern but at the same time it has that noir feel with lots of Nazi-beating action, adventure and mystery.

Right off the bat, the comic explains that Captain Jim “Red” Albright, a.k.a. Captain Midnight didn’t actually disappear in 1942, but rather, time-traveled into the present. He’s been gone and left behind his partners and now that he’s come back, the government actually sees him as a threat given his skills and intellect that he displayed during the war. Not only are officials after him, but also there’s Fury Shark (yes, it’s a weird name), daughter of his old-time enemy Ivan Shark and someone who transcended time as well.

I’d say Joshua Williamson‘s done a good job playing with #1. It has the classic feel of cheesy lines coming from the protagonist and enemies alike, i.e. when Shark’s henchmen first introduced themselves and how Captain Midnight pops up with his flaps doing their work. I also like what Williamson has done with the time travel and all. It’s a nifty trick to bring back the character from World War days, and seeing how all the characters react to this is quite fascinating. There’s Captain Midnight who ends up breaking out of military confinement, reverse-engineering modern machinery then using them, and getting some special forces chase after him even though he’s just arrived from the past. Another thing’s how people of modern times react to his arrival, how explaining to somebody that a guy from war era traveled to the present and that there’s also someone who apparently is an immortal can all sound pretty crazy.

However, #1 still suffered from a few setbacks. First of which would be the jumping through time done to set Captain Midnight’s story. In the opening pages the reader is taken to 1940s then the comics jumps to the present, then jumps back again to a few hours in the past. Take note that all of this is done to explain stuff and tell the story so that kind of multiple jumping seems complex and could cause confusion in piecing together what’s happening given that it’s still just #1.

Those flaps..

It sounds that there’s a lot going on but second setback would be the pace at which the characters were being introduced. There are a lot of people already to take note of but it’s just Captain Midnight, Charlotte Ryan and Fury Shark that the reader would truly remember after reading. Captain Midnight gets the opening and closing smacks, Charlotte Ryan gets the spotlight while Fury Shark looks damn sexy even if she’s shown in a suit here. The rest, seriously, I’m sorry I can’t even recall their names. It’s all understandable though since it’s just the first issue and I do hope they set the characters all smoothly in the next few issues.

As for the art, Fernando Dagnino‘s work and EGO‘s colors nail it. From the opening pages with loud explosions and bullet-time panels to the kicking, jumping and neck-snapping action, it all look dynamic and exciting. Though there are spots that seem lacking, the action in the other panels covered up for them. There were awkward postures and scenes for some of the characters but Dagnino’s done well with the characters, more so with the powerful ladies here such as Ms. Shark. The colors on Captain Midnight’s costume and how he stoops while spreading his flaps remind me of campy comic days but at the same time, the action going on and backgrounds do well to bring out the dark and gritty tone. Captain Midnight’s costume doesn’t even look that good, it doesn’t look military nor techie but Dagnino’s still able to give him that edge and make him look cool, especially when he jumps down from helicopters towards Nazis shooting at him.

Like I said, it’s right in between of pulp and modern, with the right mix of cheesiness and grittiness. Sure, the “man of the past trapped in the modern world” may sound cliché for a comic book plot, but it’s also the same case for the character himself who comes back with another revival. Williamson has written it as if the Captain really did jump through time and Dagnino’s work backs up that time-travel with fantastic art. Dark Horse isn’t new to bringing old comic characters back to life so I really have high hopes for this one. Though the introduction didn’t really start with a bang, let’s say this comic’s the type to start steadily and rise up from there. Captain Midnight #1’s a great read and it’ll be best not only for those who loved the classics, but also to those who are new to Captain Midnight, to jump right in while the plane’s still starting up.

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Big thanks to Comic Odyssey! Visit the nearest branch and get your copy of Captain Midnight now!

Alvin Minon