Warning!This is undoubtedly the longest – mostly due to the insane amount of images added – post this blog should ever dare to post. The smart thing to do would have been to cut it down and treat both titles in the more general sense, but I went whole hog and never intend on touching on either title ever again.
Real comic book geeks can speak volumes about the various publishers, artists, and writers that have made a true impact in the field. I am not one of those people. Sure, I could tell you that Spawn is – or was – an Image Comics title, or that Robocop verses the Terminator came from Darkhorse (and I never read either of these). I followed some of the X-Men and X-Factor story arcs that Marvel put out there. But I tended towards less successful publishers. That could mean following The Justice Machine from Comico to Innovation – I got started too late to be reading it from its days with Texas Comics or Noble Comics – or ElfQuest on WaRP graphics. And in 1993 it meant I went and found a title from Malibu Comics to follow, and it was The Night Man.
Now, one does not have to be an avid fan of the graphic arts to be a fan of Batman. Because Batman is cool, right? Unless we want to imagine him as Adam West or a member of the superfriends. Or if we want to ignore that he is little more than an update on Zorro, because Zorro – I do not mean Antonio Banderas Zorro – is cooler than Batman. Still, Batman is mostly cool, and he is a compelling superhero. But is is also one with a lot of backstory and an established stable of villains. What would someone do if they wanted a Batman-like character, starting from scratch, and done right?
They would have picked up The Night Man.
|Even in the first issue, the Night Man is on his way to refining his outfit and capabilities. He doesn't start off with everything he needs, but he is also not a hero who is afraid to shoot a bad guy with a gun.|
|There you go, the mission statement for a hero. Motivation, cool inner monologue (or as cool as an exposition-laden monologue can be), and a reasonable explanation for wearing a cape.|
|The Night Man returns to battle Mangle, a rather disturbing creation in his own right. I have a feeling that the strip club advertising on the cover may have scared a few parents.|
|Issue #2 has no problem revisiting the premise of the character, a well used comic book cliché but one that works very well here. It is nice to see a hero wonder if he has the right – or sane – motivations.|
|Sometimes the Night Man had to get physical with some otherwise innocent Ultras in order to get the bad guy.|
|Even when Johnny Domino is working a gig, evil just seems to find him. Good thing he carries his suit in his car and can become the Night Man with a few minutes notice.|
Johnny's power doesn't work on demand, nor can he turn it off. Essentially, he has an evil detector that won't quit. Unfortunately, it only works on its own terms
A hero just has to protect his definite article.
|Eddie Domingo – Johnny's father – gets some harsh treatment from the werewolf. You have to know that the Night Man isn't going to take kindly to that.|
The conclusion of the werewolf plot-line. Sort of.
Yes, The Night Man made full and regular use of the comic book onamonapeias, but "Klunt" is not the most unfortunate one ever used. Now, how would you expect the werewolf to react to an uppercut to the snout?
|This is the verisimilitude that most comic books lack. Werewolf part aside, any real smoker is going to be more upset over losing the smoke than getting punched in the face.|
I prefer this method for dealing with a werewolf. Sure, the Night Man carries a gun and could have just loaded up on silver bullets. But shocking one into submission has the right mix of non-lethality and sadism that makes for a good vigilante.
Always reassuring to know that writer Steve Englehart has a plan for the story. The Night Man's villainous love interest hasn't forgotten about him, and the readers are glad because of it.
Child abuse. You don't see it in a lot of comics. Actually, you may; I honestly don't read enough to judge. But the scene conveys the inhumanity of J.D. Hunt, and it gives the reader a bit of pleasure at seeing little Guy take one in the chops.
The other side of the father-son relationship: Eddie Domingo goes vigilante to help out Johnny. Sure, both involve violence, but in this case it isn't directed against the innocent or each other.
"Pud". That has to be the most unfortunate comic sound effects that one could add, and The Night Man does it in issue #10.
First of all, Malibu, the twelfth issue is not the anniversary issue. The Night Man debuted in October 1993 and this issue was September 1994. Who counts eleven months for an anniversary?
The good news? Evil priestess Rhiannon is back. The bad news? She doesn't look all sexy and alluring on the cover and the new penciler doesn't do the title justice. Decent story in the issue, though.
I didn't care much for Tek Knight or his story, but this sequence really worked for me. Maybe because it has the perfect meshing of comic book style and D&D imagery.
No, dear reader, the Night Man is not over. His psychopathic love interest just had the engraved on the headstone that marked her escape route to the subway tunnels. Very comic book, but I thought it worked here
The battered, falling apart cover of my issue #14 of The Night Man. Not sure how it got all damaged, but it has been about seventeen years. Some level of damage should be expected.
Wrath bounding through the forest on his way to a nuclear power plant. Seems to me that I'd send more than one agent to investigate what kind of Ultra activity is going on at a Pennsylvanian nuclear power plant.
Wrath teams up with Mantra to battle an alien. He is supposed to bring "her" in but decides that imprisoning her wouldn't help anyone.
|The man running Project W tries to get Wrath killed so he can move on to Project Patriot. That does seem like how the government would run a program like this.|
Wrath, even with limited powers, defeats all of the Freex. Guess all that training he does comes in handy. But he doesn't bring them in because they are just a bunch of scared kids trying to be left alone.
|When you have your hero beating up training droids, you are either doing the X-Men in the danger room or you didn't get enough notice as to what this month's issue is about.|