Despite possessing the germ of a good series, Midnight Sky #1 feels rushed and cobbled-together, is rife with clunky exposition and could have used more editing time.
Writer James Pruett and artist Scott Van Domelen present us with the first issue of Midnight Sky from Scout Comics. We start Midnight Sky #1 with a young family, complete with pregnant mum, dad, and toddler Alejandro, in Westchester, moving out and heading for Florida. Then we jump 13 years into the future, and we find that the science behind saving the planet from global warming has gone horribly wrong, and the world has been brought to the brink of extinction with humanity struggling to survive. We catch up with mum, grown-up baby, and Alejandro, living with a community and fending off attacks from desperate third parties. The scene shifts back again, and we see what happened to dad, and we realise that people in this issue may not be what we think they are.
Midnight Sky suffers from one of the main problems that can sink a comic book for me: clunky dumps of exposition designed to bring the reader up to speed as quickly as possible, resulting in unconvincing dialogue and as a result unconvincing characters.
The joy of the medium is that visual aspect of the form; we can see and work a lot of things out for ourselves without characters telling us exactly what is going on. It’s one of the core fundamentals of comic books, and as a reader I always feel like I am being underrated when exposition rains down upon me, just in case I am stupid and missed something.
It literally starts on the second page, when the first words that the dad character speaks are, “Maybe you shouldn’t try to carry it all in one trip, especially being seven months pregnant.” Now we can see she is pregnant, this is a comic book with pictures, so the redundant info dump just sounds odd. It continues right through Midnight Sky #1. On page 5 we get, “Even though Pennsylvania is where Alejandro was born and will always be a special place to me for that reason, I can’t say I’m going to miss the cold weather.” This kind of stilted, forced speech pattern sounds like an AI trying to convince a person they are real. It’s so jarring, it stops the flow of the story, and there is always a better way of doing it. It’s a real shame because later there are more natural scenes, but the inconstancy is off-putting.
Art-wise, there are some nice pages, but the artist seems to run out of steam towards the end, as backgrounds become sparser and less detailed as things move along. The first few pages seem to have had more time spent on them compared with the last pages. The final page of story art is so lackluster when it could have been a moment of majesty, showing us a final panel reveal that should have been a full page of excitement and wonder. Perhaps editorial duties were remiss here, as the final product really needed to be tweaked to allow what should be a sci-fi mystery thriller to slowly and carefully develop into a world that we can invest in. Instead, this is an awkward read that feels rushed. The germ of a series is here, but most of the jumps don’t land properly and more time and work would have helped bring this issue together in a more promising way.
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.