Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Review: CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT #1
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics
STORY: Joshua Williamson
ART: Fernando Dagnino
LETTERS: Nate Piekos of Blambot
COVER: Felipe Massafera
VARIANT COVER: Paolo Rivera
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (July 2013)
“On the Run” Part One of Three
The last time I saw comic book art by Fernando Dagnino was in Suicide Squad #14. I wrote a review for this blog (I Reads You, of course), in which I described Dagnino as a middling comic book artist.
Now, I see Dagnino’s work in Captain Midnight #1, and I think that he is much improved, with better technique and compositions. His style is slick, with a kind of retro, visual vibe that seems as if it belongs in comic books from 20 or 30 years ago. Here, Dagnino’s art recalls Alan David-Paul Neary and perhaps, a touch of George Perez. His storytelling is solid, but not spectacular.
Captain Midnight was one of the most popular radio programs of the late 1930s and 1940s. The character was a genius inventor, aviator, military pilot, and, of course, hero. The character migrated to comic books, where he donned a skin-tight suit similar to that of a superhero.
Dark Horse Comics brought the character back to life in its anthology, Dark Horse Presents, and is making Captain Midnight part of its new superhero initiative. Captain Midnight is Jim Albright, an expert inventor and fighter pilot extraordinaire. He was one of the world’s greatest minds and one of American’s greatest intellectual resources. Then, he disappeared in 1944.
Captain Midnight #0 collected the Captain Midnight stories that appeared in Dark Horse Presents. These early stories depicted Captain Midnight’s arrival in the present day and his dispute with the U.S. government, which considers the Captain suspicious, if not an outright danger to national security. He steals a jet and escapes custody.
Now, the resurrected radio hero stars in a new ongoing series. Captain Midnight #1 opens in July 1942, as Captain Midnight and the Secret Squadron raid a Nazi fortress. There, Captain Midnight will have his final showdown with his nemesis, Ivan Shark.
The story moves to present day Nevada. Charlotte Jean Ryan climbs her way to Secret Squadron Headquarters. Charlotte is the granddaughter of Joyce Ryan, a former Secret Squadron agent and once Captain Midnight’s love interest. Charlotte and her grandmother aren’t the only ones looking for Captain Midnight, however. Charlotte’s ex-husband, Rick Marshall, a Captain Midnight historian (and fanboy), is also helping federal agents search for World War II hero.
But where is Captain Midnight? Is he ready to emerge in a world that can’t trust a time-traveling man?
Actually, Captain Midnight #1 is a solid, but not spectacular comic book. Still, writer Joshua Williamson presents an intriguing and simply fun-to-read story. In fact, Captain Midnight seems as if the emphasis will be on mystery, espionage, and intrigue more than it will be on superhero theatrics. That’s a good thing, because Captain Midnight seems like more of a suspense and adventure character than he is a superhero.
The verdict: Captain Midnight #1 is a success. I could find myself reading this series on a regular basis. Fans of old-timey heroes will want to try Dark Horse Comics’ Captain Midnight.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux