Book Review: Captain Midnight: Volume 1: On the Run by Joshua Williamson and Fernando Dagnino

A patriotic Nazi-fighting U.S. superhero who disappeared in the 1940s suddenly appears in the present day, seemingly not a day older. Captain America? No, Captain Midnight. As part of Dark Horse’s renewed focus on superhero titles, they’ve dusted off this character who actually was created in the 1930s but fell into obsolescence in the ensuing decades. Now he’s back in an all-new ongoing series by writer Joshua Williamson (Masks and Mobsters) and artist Fernando Dagnino.

Upon barreling out of the Bermuda Triangle in the same plane he disappeared in during World War II, Midnight is briefly incarcerated on a U.S. aircraft carrier before receiving unexpected aid in making his escape. He doesn’t have anything to hide, he’s just eager to figure out what happened to him and the evil Nazi lady he was chasing when he vanished. As he quickly learns, the Nazi named Fury Shark somehow landed in the 1980s and quickly established a still-powerful U.S. tech company focused on military hardware.

Meanwhile, a plucky young lass named Charlotte is assigned to track down Midnight and become his handler. She’s a major in the Army, but is also the granddaughter of Midnight’s former girlfriend and cohort in the Secret Squadron. You guessed it, she looks just like her grandma did at her age, making Midnight all too willing to partner with her as he catches up on the history he missed and makes plans to battle Fury Shark. Sure, Shark is a respected member of U.S. society, but Midnight is laser-focused on exposing her as a Nazi and bringing her reign of economic tyranny to an end.

The trade paperback includes issue # 0-3 as well as a story from Free Comic Book Day 2013. No bonus features are included, just the comics.

Frankly, I’d never heard of series artist Dagnino before, but he’s a great choice for the book as he brings a clean, kinetic, and highly detailed style that perfectly suits the earnest superhero tales. Meanwhile, Williamson builds great mythology in these early issues, setting up a number of intriguing threads to follow in the future including shadowy organizations, past characters in Midnight’s life that still have an impact in the present, and even a likely romance with Charlotte. While the title isn’t exactly an essential read, it is a thoroughly entertaining and promising start to what could be a very solid superhero tale. It’s also a great alternative for new readers looking to get into a superhero comic without being bogged down by decades of past mythology.

Captain Midnight Vol. 1: On the Run will be available on February 18, 2014

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Steve Geise

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