This is a book I’ve had for a while lost in my “to-read” shelf from a period of time when I was subscribed to a service called Comic Bento. I was somewhat familiar with the concept of Captain Midnight since I’ve read of various radio serials of the 1940’s, but was not actually familiar with the character itself. Captain Midnight was a U.S. adventure franchise first broadcast as a radio serial from 1938 to 1949 then later turned into all sorts of other media such as comics. This current book is from Dark Horse and is part of a line of books called “Project Black Sky” that feature superheroes. To me, this is an area Dark Horse hasn’t really dabbled in too much, but it’s cool to see the market not just dominated by “the big 2”.
As for the book itself, Captain Midnight: On the Run, is basically a copy of Captain Americas’s origin, albeit slightly tweaked, applied to another old character. The Captain was busy fighting Nazis in World War II and is suddenly lost in the Bermuda Triangle. flash forward to the present day and he shows up to continue his fight against some very familiar villains. Honestly the plot is very generic and the characterization of the Captain is sort of silly at times.
I hate to make this comparison again, but one of the main good things about Captain America is how he comes to terms with his time displacement and how America has changed in his absence. Captain Midnight, however shows up in 2014 and is basically like “cool, I can fly modern planes because I’m a genius”. This unfortunately makes the character REALLY one-dimensional since he can seemingly do anything and is never fazed. His assistant Charlotte is the voice of the audience, and we see her react to the reappearance of a man that shaped her grandmothers life, and one that she grew up hearing endless stories about.
Honestly, this book isn’t great, but the art is nice and it’s good to see Darkhorse at least try to enter the Superhero market so I’m giving it three stars since I can’t do 2 1/2. Had this been presented in a “pulp” manner or pure camp nostalgia I think it would have worked better, but what we have is what we have.
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Lately, Hulu has been really cranking out advertisements for a show that I knew only by name and a vague idea of the plot – That show is the UK superhero youth drama Misfits. Being all caught up on many other shows, I figured “what the heck” and queued up the first episode. The story follows a group of young delinquents (party-girl Alisha, Kelly the chav, fallen sports hero Curtis, social outcast Simon, and class clown Nathan) placed into a program to give them a second chance at being on the right side of the law. While doing what basically amounts to community service, a freak storm with baseball sized hail and numerous lightning strikes does something to the group ultimately giving them special powers.
The plot might sound a bit like other shows such as Heroes or Alphas, but the similarities end at the fact that they have powers. While those shows are nice and polished up like shiny apples sitting in a big bowl on a kitchen table, Misfits is more like a browning banana in paper sack that you forgot about. The overall “vibe” to the show reminds me of a cross between the same sort of frank and often dingy realism found in Inbetweeners or Skins and something like Being Human. What I mean by this is that we aren’t getting the Disney Channel idea of how teenagers talk and act, we’re getting messed-up, hormonal, foul-mouthed balls of angst that all have super powers.
The ways in which the powers are used in the show are pretty cool sometimes. In my favorite scene, everyone is heckling Kelly for her accusations that their case worker has gone nuts and is trying to kill them. It seems that he didn’t fare as well in the whole powers department, and got homicidal rage instead. Nobody believes her until one mistake leaves Kelly’s brains plastered all over the wall. Curtis freaks out and basically rewinds time to just prior to this incident. The other powers we see in play are Alisha’s pheromone charm ability, Simon’s invisibility, and Kelly’s psychic abilities. The only member we don’t see exhibiting ability is Nathan, but I assume this will change in the next episode.
I’m glad that the producers didn’t try to put in things that relied too much on special effects, such as CGI powers, as I bet the budget would not be kind to flashy things like that. This cost-effective measure not only diverts the risk of having questionable CGI stuff (see Hyperdrive), but makes the show grounded and more realistic – a trait that almost every superhero comic and show has longed for.
I’m glad I checked out this show. I’m very intrigued by where Misfits is going to go, and will be eager to check out some more episodes. I really like the characters (well…..Nathan annoys me so far…) and am looking forward to see how they interact and how they will be forced to work together in some way.