Pullbox Reviews Midnight Men- Golden Age, Nazi punching, mystery men (and women) action!

In the early months of 1940, President Roosevelt received a fateful letter delivered to his hand by a time-traveler from the future… a future where the Nazis had won WWII.

America had not yet entered the conflict, but upon reading the letter, the President summoned renowned scholar and adventurer, Dax Northender, and charged him with a top-secret mission… to assemble a team of American’s most heroic private citizens to go to the Europe and begin covert operations against the Nazi threat. This team would consist of some of the most amazing people on the planet, and they would be known as THE MIDNIGHT MEN.

You know what I would really like to see? More of the MCU’s adventures of Captain America and the Howling Commandos. Or a new comic series set during World War II featuring The Invaders. Or the Justice Society. There’s something about that Golden Age of comics that produced some of the coolest heroes, and put them up against the most despicable of foes. While there may be no shortage of those stories that have already been told, I’m gonna take the risk of upsetting diehards out there by saying that many of those old comics are a little… dated.

No, it’s true. I’ve gone back and read some of the classic comics of the age, and with just a few exceptions, it’s kinda rough. There are publishers out there who have revamped/rebooted some of the greatest pulp heroes from the 1930’s and 40’s, but I have yet to find a really good update on some of the old Nazi punching team books (if there are any out there that I’ve missed, please let me know!). If there was ever a bad guy, a world threatening evil, a universally despised antagonist that everyone loves to see getting their asses handed to them, it’s the Nazis.

Enter the Midnight Men… and Women! Dax Northender. Jurassic Sam. The Gotham Saint. Micah the Agarthan. Anastasia Romanov. As bizarre and eclectic a group of heroes as has ever graced the pages of a comic book, and they’re available right now for your reading pleasure.

Briefly.

And that, right there, is the single problem I have with The Midnight Men. There are only two issues! Issue #0 is a very fast introduction, with fourteen action packed pages of story and six pages of concept art & character bios. The other issue, Midnight Men: Secret Files, is a series of vignettes highlighting a few more of the characters who would ideally be featured in an ongoing series that I would absolutely pay to see.

Sean Rourke writes fast. I actually have no idea how long it takes him to crank out a 20 page comic script, but I’m referring to his uncanny ability to introduce new characters and in a very short amount of time invest them with personality and history. For as brief a time as I had with these comics, I found myself getting sucked into this world of easily identifiable villains and the heroes who love to beat on them. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a handful of shorts and a fourteen page introductory adventure.

Aiding, possibly abetting, in the appeal of Midnight Men is the art of Marcelo Borstelmann. With a fantastic sense of action and visual drama, he brings this world of adventurers and mystery men (and women) to full color life. That Borstelmann hasn’t been snatched up by one of the major publishers is a crime, and a testament to just how deep the talent pool in independent comics really is. One of the visual highlights from the first issue is the appearance of the Gotham Saint: our heroes are trapped and the lights go out as Nazi assassins unload their machine guns on a suddenly empty railcar. The lights come back up to reveal the Saint, untouched by the hail of bullets and ready to return fire.

I can only imagine how many pages of notes Rourke and Midnight Men co-creator Bill Murphy have scattered around, but the two issues I’ve read reference past events and lives lived prior to the action featured in these pages. If there is any ounce of justice left in the world, those pages will see the light of day and I’ll get more of my Midnight Men (and Women) fix. To that end, jump over to the Midnight Men website, maybe pick up a digital comic or two. This was one of my happier stumbled across accidents, and it could just be one of yours too.

Final Score: 12/13

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