Thursday, April 27, 2017


IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

WRITER/ARTIST: Howard Chaykin
COLORS: Jesus Aburtov
LETTERS: Ken Bruzenak
COVER: Howard Chaykin with Jesus Aburtov
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S. (June 2016)

Rated “M / Mature”

Midnight of the Soul is a new comic book miniseries from Howard Chaykin.  The series is set in 1950 and is written and drawn by Chaykin; colored by Jesus Aburtov; and lettered by Ken Bruzenak.

Midnight of the Soul #1 opens in New York City, 1950.  Joel Breakstone is a former G.I. who served in World War II and was one of the liberators of the infamous internment camp at Auschwitz.  Joel is also a pile of seriously damaged good, formerly addicted to morphine and currently addicted to alcohol.  He recalls his wartime experiences as he struggles to be a writer of alternate-universe science fiction.  With his life cratering, Joel is ready for change.

As a youngster, I was a fan of Chaykin's seminal and influential 1980s science fiction comic book series, American Flagg!!  I also fell hard for Chaykin's other 1980s work, especially The Shadow, a four-issue reboot of the classic pulp magazine hero for DC Comics.  To a lesser extent, I also enjoyed Blackhawk, his re-imagining of the Golden Age, adventure comic, Blackhawks (also for DC Comics).  I also read and re-read Chaykin's noir-infused, black and white, porno-mystery comic, Black Kiss.

After those classics, I found other Howard Chaykin comic books to enjoy, but none brought me the sheer joy I got from his 1980s comics.  I have not gotten around to reading his recent output, especially the work published by Image Comics.  I only read one issue of his murder mystery comic book series, Satellite Sam (created with writer Matt Fraction).  I read the entirety of Blade, which stars Marvel's vampire-killin' Black dude, which Chaykin drew, but did not write.

This is the long way of saying that I never stopped being interested in Howard Chaykin and still read his comics when I can find them.  So I am curious about Midnight of the Soul.  Chaykin buries the reader in the morass that is Joel Breakstone, and, in my case, I am ready to take a journey into or to wherever he is going.

After four decades of producing comic books and graphical storytelling, Chaykin still has it.  He has mastered the medium, creating a unique graphical language with its own captivating rhythm.  Graphic design, page layout, and composition create panels that are individually striking and collectively intriguing.  I don't know if Midnight of the Soul will ultimately be an ambitious misfire or a standout, but the creator is exceptional.  That makes reading this comic book worth the time.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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