“Captain Midnight” isn’t the first time that Dark Horse has taken old comic characters and tried to give them a new lease on life; the Gold Key characters (Magnus, Solar and Turok) are ones that all immediately leap to mind. “Captain Midnight” feels like it might be the most successful because it’s got the best hook. That said, despite a three-part story in “Dark Horse Presents” (reprinted as “Captain Midnight” #0), “Captain Midnight” #1 feels a tiny bit slow out of the gate because it needs to take the time for Joshua Williamson and Fernando Dagnino to set the series up.
Part of that has to do with the sudden shifting/expanding of the series’ setting. Williamson introduces two new cast members (one primary and one presumably supporting), and moves out of the Atlantic Ocean into the United States proper. It’s Charlotte Ryan who gets the bulk of the spotlight, and if one had to guess, it’s safe to say that “Captain Midnight” may end up being as much her comic as the title character. With a family connection to him as well as a link to the military, it makes sense. She’s the typical tough but smart female character, and while there’s still a lot of room to add in characterization, it’s not a bad start.
What’s appreciated more than anything else in “Captain Midnight” #1 is the reminder that Captain Midnight isn’t just a guy with super powers, he’s also fairly brilliant in his own right. It’s something that sets him apart from so many other characters with a similar power set; flying and being strong isn’t out of the ordinary in comics these days, so it’s fun to see someone who also takes apart and revamps modern machinery even though he just got yanked from the 1940s into the present day. I feel like that’s where a lot of the potential from “Captain Midnight” #1 resides, and it’s what ultimately kept me interested above all else in Williamson’s script.
Dagnino’s art looks fine, with some spots stronger than others. Dagnino certainly enjoys drawing the ladies, and that’s where readers get some of both the strongest and weakest art. It’s the villain Fury Shark for whom Dagnino turns in some of his best pieces; this is a character who’s drawn as beautiful but also is in a suit. Sure, there’s a bit too much cleavage showing for someone who’s supposed to be this high up in the business world, perhaps, but overall Dagnino nails the character. It’s reminiscent of art from creative talent like Terry and Rachel Dodson, with smooth lines and an icy smile on her face. On the other hand, Charlotte gets a few questionable poses here and there. Charlotte leaning towards her mother with chest pushed forward, asking when she’d talked to Rick is just odd, for example; it’s a “bad girl” pose thrown in randomly. Similarly, when she talks about the blueprints being a diversion, she’s suddenly pushing her chest forward and her hips back. It’s unnecessary cheesecake, and distracts from the good work that Dagnino does elsewhere.
“Captain Midnight” #1 is off to a solid if not overwhelming start, but it’s also understandable. Overall, Williamson and Dagnino have kicked off the series well enough to come back for a second issue, and that it’s on a path for the momentum to start building. Best of all, for a revamp of a character from quite some time ago, this feels modern and accessible to new readers. That’s exactly what readers can ask for.