Monday, January 2, 2012

Midnight Nation Hardcover Review

Midnight Nation
Image Comics - Top Cow
Oversized Hardcover
304 pages
$100.00 (2009)
$24.99 (2003) Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781607060406

Contributors: J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, Jason Gorder, Jay Leisten, Jonathan Sibal, Michael Zulli, Avalon Studios, Dan Kemp, Matt Milla, Justin Ponsor, Dennis Heisler, Robin Spehar, and Dreamer Design

Reprints: Midnight Nation #1/2, 1-12 (of 12)

Synopsis: Lt. David Grey works homicide for the LAPD and he's seen it all until one particularly brutal murder investigation brings him face-to-face with supernatural horror.  He is attacked and injured by a group of strange, demonic half-men under the control of a mysterious figure.  Awakening in a hospital bed he sees people around him have faded to translucent half-ghosts and no longer register his presence.  Incredibly disturbed by this phenomena David is approached by a woman who seems to know what has happened to him.  
Always look both ways before crossing the street

She explains he has lost his soul and must make a journey to New York City in order to get it back or eventually become one of the "Walkers" - the demonic half-men who accosted him.  Laurel is a guide of sorts and tells him about the place between the cracks of the regular world - only abandoned people or objects are real. 

The two make the long journey from Los Angeles to New York by foot and have strange encounters along the way.  They are besieged by Walkers at every turn and David experiences the constant hopelessness of those on the other side.  Part of his nature is now that of a Walker and it surfaces more frequently He and Laurel become closer as he gets closer to confronting "The Other Guy".  Laurel is not what she seems and neither is the choice David must ultimately make once his soul is within reach.  Will he regain his soul and what happens to Laurel? 
"The Other Guy" rules New York

Pros: Decent concept, art by Frank is excellent and super-clean, Laurel is hot, beautiful hardcover edition, tons of extras including, sketchbook, script, and all the covers

Cons: Really expensive, relatively quick read, some minor plot holes, predictable and a bit preachy at the end

Mike Tells It Straight: Straczynski crafts a tale of hardship, loyalty, sacrifice, and ultimately hope.  His story is simple and straightforward with Frank providing wonderfully clean art.  Borrowing from Christianity we are painted a picture of the subtle battle between heaven and hell.  I enjoyed the characters and plot, but felt it became predictable by the end.  That being said, simple is often better than complicated (which can lead to being convoluted).  Not your traditional comic and no superheroes to be found which is a nice change.    
Laurel = hot

Now let's talk about the price - $100 is way too much for this book.  I know it's a lush, hardcover edition, but the story is not classic enough to warrant this hefty price tag.  Top Cow offers compendium editions of Witchblade, The Darkness, and even Tomb Raider with fifty issues at $100.  It's ludicrous to pay this much.  The story is pretty good, but the hardcover edition is too expensive.  Pick up the trade paperback and take a walk on the dark side.

TO BUY and Recommendations: