Grim_Noir: 3 Heroes, 2 PAST MIDNIGHT, 1 Helluva Good Time

2 Past Mid cover

Title: 2 Past Midnight (collected)

Writer: Duane Swierczynski

Cover: Paolo Rivera

Art: Eduardo Francisco

Colors: Stefani Rennee

Letterer: Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Last year, a major comics publisher quietly released a crossover miniseries. It was brief (only running 5 issues), it was self-contained to the miniseries itself, and involved three of that universe’s major characters. A year later, repercussions are actually being felt in one of the character’s titles. Most notably, the entire collected trade paperback of this miniseries is now available — for LESS THAN TEN BUCKS! Is this publisher Marvel? (Fat chance.) DC? (Nope.) Valiant? (Still nope.) It was Dark Horse, with their “Black Sky Project” universe (the current reboot of their “Comics Greatest World” universe). And the trade paperback (and digital collection) for their 2 Past Midnight crossover is currently available. The story begins when three Chicago Transit cops succumb to a fit of extreme paranoia and begin shooting innocent civilians, whom the officers see as terrorists. PTSD? Mass hysteria? …Or something more diabolical…? A trio of Dark Horse heroes, coming at the situation from three different directions, will eventually team-up to defeat an unhinged madman (you know, Crossover 101.)

twopastmidp7Jim Albright, the time-displaced Captain Midnight, has a sneaking suspicion that this incident may tie into technology produced by his former company, Albright Industries. He has already had some experiences with people in the company that he thought he knew, but time has changed everyone and not always in good ways. Many of his pre-WWII developments have been corrupted, either out of greed or fear. Albright is on a mission to correct these misuses and what happened on that Chicago subway platform may be his next mission. (Not an original motivation, post-Armor Wars, but it does suit his character.) Meanwhile, Elisa Cameron (a.k.a. Ghost) is following a different lead: One of the suspects in the shooting has fled. Knowing she will not get a fair trial in Chicago, Officer McLaren flees, hoping to get help from her former mentor at the police academy. With all the weird sh–, er, stuff that Elisa has seen in her brief life/afterlife, she believes the officer’s story. Unfortunately, her old mentor is now the Chief of Public Safety in Arcadia, the blighted city where the vigilante X enforces his own personal brand of justice, above any law…

twopastmidp10Writer Duane Swierczynski moves the action along briskly, with dark humor and Tarantino-esque dialogue. True, he struggles with some plot points: Such as why the villian, Tempus, just happens to move his terrorism from Chicago to Arcadia, at the exact same time Ghost & McLaren arrive, …OR why a title with 3 heroes needed to be called 2 Past Midnight, …OR even why a bad guy named “Tempus” doesn’t have time-control powers. But Swierczynski DOES manage to capture the essence of our three heroes. No lines nor actions truly seem out of line with their established personalities. Swierczynski is ably backed by artist Eduardo Francisco, the regular artist for Captain Midnight. Francisco does expressions really well AND handles big, cinematic action scenes like a boss. He makes this “Summer Action Movie”-style mind candy work seamlessly.

X in 2 Past MidSpecial mention must be given to the colorist for this title. Stefani Rennee makes the bright colors pop and keeps the subtle shadings and night scenes subtle. Being a good colorist is like being a good proofreader; the less people notice you doing your job, the better you actually are at your job. It is a thankless, self-perpetuating cycle. Rennee deserves kudos for his quietly perfect job on this book. I’m not saying this is the second coming of A Separate Peace, but 2 Past Midnight has a nice Bronze Age comics mojo to it that feels fresh compared to a lot of the more “emo” titles that have satuarated the market these days. Even the priceĀ  point feels very ’80s. Part of my personal philosophy of sequential art criticism is how much bang you get for your buck. And for ten bucks, this trade is a BLAST.

 

grim_noir_3_t* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or “Friend” on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

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