Indie Comics Spotlight: The Gun, Zoe Out of Time, Captain Midnight
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
The Gun #1
“Irony has a funny way of showing itself sometimes. Unfortunately some don’t see the humor in it.”
It’s true that there’s humor in irony, but it’s often only the case for people viewing the ironic situation. Those that are the subject of the irony often become so at the expense of their dignity perhaps or sometimes something greater. There’s plenty of irony to be found in The Gun #1 from Creature Entertainment. The issue is written by John Ulloa, with art by Jose Varese and lettered by Julio Alvarez.
John Davis is a down on his luck writer, struggling to sell his book. After his latest attempt falls on its face, he decides that maybe being a writer isn’t the thing for him. He even goes a step further, thinking that maybe he shouldn’t even live, which takes him into a pawn shop looking for a gun to end it all.
John definitely has a Willy Loman vibe that permeates the cautionary tale about luck and fortune. Granted, he doesn’t have the same family to take care of, but he does face similar misfortunes in that he can’t seem to catch a break. Ulloa puts John through the emotional ringer, taking him from a suicide attempt to an incredible sense of power and then back down again. It’s a roller-coaster of a ride that the reader really gets to go along on, getting the full sense of just what he might be going through.
Varese’s art is black and white but very detailed. John maintains a look of despair for most of the book that is until things “turn around” for him and he gets a look of something darker. Varese focuses a lot on the face and does a great job conveying the emotion of the panel, whether it’s by looking specifically at a facial expression or an object. It’s not an action comic, but the panels drip with moments of heightened activity, moving the comic along well.
What The Gun #1 does really well is keep the reader on their toes, not tipping its hand about the ultimate fate of John Davis. The story is simplistic enough on its face that you may see the ending coming, but it’s still done in a way that is meaningful. Bad luck has a way of affecting everyone and it’s how you deal with it that defines any possible change in the future.
The Gun #1 is available from comiXology now.
Zoë: Out of Time #1
“Jeez, these kids today think they’re invincible.”
Youth brings with it a sense of arrogance that nothing will catch up to you and you’re right about everything. That leads to some individuals of the younger persuasion to live life on the edge, jumping from one potential calamity to the next. Sometimes, luck runs out and throws you back in time though. Zoë: Out of Time #1 is a prime example. The first issue is written by J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos, with art by Derlis Santacruz and colors by Oren Kramek.
It’s 2050 and sixteen-year-old Zoë Black is obsessed with the one thing teenage girls are wont to be obsessed about: the lead singer of a band, Trent Darrow of the Rebel Lions. His untimely death made him a legend, which of course only makes his life that much more appealing to Zoë. This doesn’t go over so well with her dad, who just so happens to be Dr. Corbin Black and a potential pioneer of time travel. Things get screwy for Zoë and her affinity for Trent Darrow.
Time travel stories have this tendency to be pretty heady at their core, so Michalski and Lagos making one about a teen inadvertently traveling through time and meeting a hero is interesting. The story flows well and makes sense, but some of the dialogue between Zoë and her father moves between antagonistic and loving. Of course, they do have a father-daughter relationship and Zoë is something of a wild card, but the conversation just feels stilted for some reason.
Illustrations by Santacruz work for the book. Dr. Black looks like a supervillain though and is even reminiscent of the doctor from Archer. Zoë is pretty convincing as a teenage rebel and the differences illustrated between 1990 and 2050 are stark enough where you can tell times have changed. The Kronos Traveller looks like it was ripped straight from the dashboard of a 1985 DeLorean.
Zoë is playing the role of anachronism, thrust into another world. Her motivation for traveling isn’t really a motivation per se as it is a necessity of sorts. There’s potential for her view of the past to change significantly and it’ll be interesting to see how the writers play things out. It’s possible that the past gets re-written, which might mature Zoë a bit.
Zoë: Out of Time #1 is available on Amazon now. Check out the Facebook page here.
Captain Midnight #0
“The pilot just jumped out of the plane and is coming down on me with some kind of–wings!”
Words such as those do little to inspire confidence in the skills of a pilot. After all, if you’re flying expensive, military equipment and an individual decides to pretty much just land on top of it mid-flight, what are you supposed to do? Give the guy a lift of course, as in Captain Midnight #0 from Dark Horse. The issue features the writing talents of Joshua Williamson, art by Victor Ibáñez and Pere Pérez, colors by Ego and letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot. It collects the three stories from Dark Horse Presents: “Midnight at 10,000 Feet,” “Lost” and “Redacted.”
Jim Albright was a genius inventor, helping to fuel the American military machine with his brilliance and deftness with machinery. As such, the country deemed him too valuable to enlist, forcing him to take on the persona of Captain Midnight, a hero who appeared right when the country needed one most. Unfortunately, he disappeared in 1944 in the middle of a mission and hadn’t been seen or heard from since. Until now of course.
As a character, Captain Midnight is quite intriguing. Sure, he’s the classic anachronism, forced to reconcile what he knew with what he sees, but Williamson ensures that he doesn’t have that typical, wide-eyed aloofness that most character in his position have. For instance, there’s a point where Captain Midnight makes an observation about technology and, instead of being wowed by it, is disappointed that the world hasn’t advanced past it. It’s little things like that to help really hit home how smart this guy really is.
Character aside, the story seems to have a grander ambition to it, which is good since Captain Midnight is set to become an ongoing series. Fury Shark is introduced as a villain who also may be slightly out of place in space and time. Captain Midnight also has to deal with the requisite obtuseness of the US government, insistent on maintaining a status quo and not letting an “asset” like Captain Midnight out of their control.
The art by Ibáñez and Pérez is largely consistent, with the entire book feeling the same. There are some good action shots of the planes flying, panels where the fighting looks choreographed because of great chemistry and even a semi-full page character reveal. One of the really cool pages is just a bunch of “Redacted” plastered across the text bubbles, which helps to relay the experience of trying to get information from an intelligence official. Captain Midnight himself has a classic superhero look to him, helping to bridge the time gap between past and present.
Captain Midnight #0 features a tried and true story, but the main character looks to be the star of the show. His reactions are genuine and it will be intriguing to see him continuing to react to shortcomings in modern day technology. Fury Shark seems sufficiently vile enough to challenge him as a villain and there are still a few threads that need to be pulled. Overall though, the series looks like it will shape up to be pretty awesome.
Captain Midnight #0 is in stores now.