By Leroy Douresseaux
July 28, 2013 - 12:35
|Captain Midnight #1 cover image - art by Felipe Massafera
“On the Run” Part One of Three
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?
THE LOWDOWN: The last time I saw art by Fernando Dagnino, I described him as a middling comic book artist. He’s good here. He is much improved, with better technique and compositions. His style is slick, but seems as if it belongs in comic books from 20 or 30 years ago. His art recalls Alan David-Paul Neary and perhaps, a touch of George Perez. His storytelling is solid, but not spectacular.
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.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of old-timey heroes will want to try Dark Horse Comics’ Captain Midnight.
Rating: 8.5 /10