Graphic Novel: Midnight Nation

I bounced off the Babylon-5 pilot, so never jumped on the J. Michael Straczynski train. But the artwork and concept for his comic Midnight Nation was promising enough to lure me in. This one is urban fantasy noir with religious overtones. LA police detective David Grey’s soul is stolen, causing him to fall through the cracks into a purgatorial half-reality. In order to restore himself, he needs to journey across the country to New York and confront a series of tests, with only the beautiful, mysterious Laurel to guide him.

Straczynski’s showrunning roots shine through in this smartly structured, episodic series, a “dark night of the soul” project heavy on religious metaphor that I didn’t find overbearing; rather, it simply provides a strong thematic basis for the book, which is very much about soul-searching and struggling to get by in the world. Gary Frank’s artwork is superb, although often male-gazey, which¬† struck me as a little incongruous in light of the story. Overall a good read, and something a little different.

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