Dark Horse have managed to dig a character out of the vault and breathe new life into it. Captain Midnight was first introduced in 1938-1949 as a radio program and in 1942 Fawcett published the character in comic book form with a few updates. Dark Horse have drawn its inspiration from the Fawcett published version and brought this character back to life.
Having no prior knowledge of this character until after having read the trade, I found myself comparing the story to the stories I grew up with and initially felt the character to be simply a collaboration of different characters. Captain Midnight was in many ways like Captain America, a hero that started fighting Nazis before something happened and he ended up traveling through time to the present day. Captain Midnight’s real identity, Jim Albright, could also be compared to Iron Man’s Tony Stark and the Blue Beetles Dan Garret and Ted Kord with his advanced intelligence and inventions. The main villains of the story, Ivan Shark and his daughter Fury Shark, could also be compared to villains like Red Skull, a Nazi craving destructive technology. However, with that being said, I decided to look into the first appearances of these characters. Captain America was 1941, Iron Man was 1963 and the Blue Beetle was introduced in 1939. So in fact, the only one that maybe had some influence on Captain Midnight could have been Blue Beetle.
Now, having gotten the history lesson out of the way, I found myself appreciating the character and his story even more. The storytelling is done very well taking this outdated story and introducing it to a new generation of readers. Captain Midnight appears out of thin air in a Jet from World War II onto a US carrier in present day. Out of sorts and not sure what is happening, he finds himself arrested and held for questioning by the commanding officer. Someone breaks the Captain free and the adventure begins. The plot takes several twists and turns and we get a brief history lesson of Captain Midnight’s origins – as well as the origins of those who worked alongside him in his Secret Squadron – but the story mainly focuses on his search for Fury Shark who also traveled through time with him, although seemingly appearing in time much earlier. Fury Shark has taken some of Captain Midnight’s technology and perverted it into weapons that she is selling to the highest bidder.
The artwork is done very well with clean lines, clear emotions displayed on the characters faces and the action scenes come across like stills taken from an action movie. The artwork sets a nice pace along with the storytelling and keeps the eyes and the mind interested in each development. While the plot is strong and the story is engaging, there were a few minor issues I had with it. Where the “Captain Midnight” character name comes from is never clearly explained. It is mentioned a few times that he strikes or does most of missions at Midnight but that appears to be the only explanation. There are also parts of the story that feel underdeveloped, although that could just be for purposes of keeping readers hanging on for the next issue. I for one wouldn’t mind reading more of the tales of Captain Midnight to see where the story goes! All in all, this is a solid action hero book that was originally introduced at the very beginnings of our beloved comic books. It makes me wonder what other characters from the past could be revived or need to be revived so that we can get a glimpse into just what helped start this phenomenon.
INTERIOR ARTWORK PREVIEW
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The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)