As comic readers, we are constantly subjected to the fight between good and evil, in sequential art, of course. Most of the time, it is clearly defined into right and wrong, good guys/gals versus bad guys/gals, them against us, et cetera. Occasionally, the lines blur and we aren’t exactly sure which character is a villain and which one is the hero. Everything about Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 points to just such a dilemma. Moral decisions and selfishness seem to be at the root of this issue. Please read on while I make my case.
We enter the story years past as two adventurers, Arcturus Finn and Kevin Kaycee, explore the depths of a cave that isn’t exactly as it appears to be. For you see, they are tracking a mythical creature and it seems their luck is holding. The discovery that they make in the caves tests their friendship and causes one of them to question the nature (and morality) of the other. For while they are both scientists, one is far more concerned with prestige than following a scholarly path. A decision is made that will forever alter the perception they have of one another.
Jump forward to modern times and we see a young lady by the name of Matilda Finn who is an agent for a covert British institution called MI: Omega. The story presented in this time and place is that Arcturus Finn is sending his former ward matilda to Loch Ness to search for his old friend Kevin Kaycee, now a world renowned cryptozoologist. Believing the siting of Nessie to be truthfull, Kaycee had organized an exploration of the loch before his sudden and bizarre disappearance. Going undercover on a recover vessel, Matilda is prepared to give this rescue mission her all. But what will she find, if anything, once she starts looking? Hints are dropped throughout the comic that this is far more than just a missing persons issue. She is, after all, a trained monster killer.
I love the concept of the story being in two eras, one seemingly Victorian and the other more modern. Science and mystery go hand in hand in this homage to pulp fantasy. This is Drew Edward Johnson‘s first creator-owned series and it starts off with a heavy dose of mystery and intrigue. I feel like this might lean on the horror genre a bit before it’s over, too. Not a bad thing and certainly nothing new for Dark Horse Comics. I especially enjoyed his artwork. The chromatic tones in the caves gave it an almost ethereal feeling, definitely playing with the light from the torches the characters were carrying. The dialogue was heavy on the English and Scottish slang, presenting a believable discourse.
The story is still in its infancy but that doesn’t mean it won’t draw you in. Far from it, actually. I found myself leaning forward and trying to divine the secrets that are almost tangible in the tale. While we get a glimpse of each character and who they appear to be, the reader is left to ponder many details that will, no doubt, be dropped like breadcrumbs on a trail. You don’t have to enjoy science or science fiction to like this comic. If the premiere issue is anything to go by, this will be an interesting read that you won’t want to miss!