“Midnight Tiger” #1 offers readers the potential to jump into the brand-new adventures of an all-new super hero, written by DeWayne Feenstra and Ray-Anthony Height with art from Height. This inaugural issue opens up the world of the Midnight Tiger through the eyes of the hero, giving readers a peek into his thought process and life.
The problem with “Midnight Tiger” #1 is that the story walks somewhere between cliched and safe. The Tiger himself has a stunning appearance, but the action he takes throughout the story could easily be swapped out for any number of heroes, from Wildcat to the Fox to Spider-Man. After all, how many comic books present readers with a hero who has to control his powers lest he kill someone? One step further, how many characters have to track down a mysterious threat that seems to have tentacles in every shady deal in the character’s hometown? Feenstra and Height present both scenarios, twisting them together, but just not quite finding the spark to ignite the fireworks. The cast is distinct and recognizable, the plot is clean, but the story is missing unpredictability and zest.
Serving double duty on “Midnight Tiger” #1, Height also draws the issue with Paul John on colors and letters. The visuals are all very serviceable, but fall short of remarkable. There is some shifty anatomy — Police Chief Goodrich’s massive hand compared to the size of his head, for example — and some murky storytelling, but for the most part, Height does a good job bringing the visuals in “Midnight Tiger” #1 to life, despite some ups and downs. There is room for improvement, and like the writing for this issue, a little more pizzazz would be appreciated, but the pieces in place make for a solid reading experience.
Clocking in at twenty-two pages, “Midnight Tiger” #1 simply does not have enough substance to keep from feeling thin and incomplete. Instead of presenting the next “Invincible” or even “Blue Beetle,” this is just another story about a kid with powers. It’s a nice, comfortable celebration of comic books, but it spends too much time celebrating to solidify around the core potential. The writers try way too hard to create a collection of words capable of transforming into the acronym ‘S.H.E.R.I.F.F.” and even squeeze in a little Batman nod, but I’d rather see a little more of the Tiger in action, a visual tease of his origin story or an extra panel or two instead of three panels devoted to Gavin Shaw (the Tiger’s secret identity) writing a term paper. There’s room for “Midnight Tiger” to grow and there’s plenty to grow around, which this first issue leaves largely untapped. This is the start of something new, so there’s always hope, I just hope the next issue feels more substantial.