"Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Drew Edward Johnson
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 10th, 2015
The Internet has ruined a lot of the mystery in our world. It makes it tougher for things like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster to seem real when you can bring up a Google Earth image of the entire region. That wasn't the case forty years ago when English adventurers Arcturus Finn and Kevin Kaycee were searching for monsters big and small. They encountered the fantastic and the impossible, but something shattered their friendship, driving the two of them down very different paths. Fast forward to the present when Kevin goes missing during an expedition to Loch Ness and Arcturus feels obligated to find and rescue his old friend despite their differences.
The first thing that springs to mind when I saw Midnight Society was the Nickelodeon TV show, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as that was the name of the club that met in the woods to tell spooky stories. I can assure you that the two have absolutely nothing to do with one another aside from that name. Creator / writer / artist Drew Edward Johnson set up this miraculous world that exists just beneath our own filled with wonders.
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The opening of the issue features Arcturus and Kevin chasing down a pixie, which doesn't sound all that menacing at first. Then you get a good look at the creature with its four arms, six eyes, and jagged teeth and your feelings on pixies are quickly changed. The caverns that they're running through seem vast and never-ending, but your perspective is adjusted once you find that the adventurers had somehow shrunk themselves down to a much smaller size to investigate these little beasts. This opens up so many other possibilities within this world.
When we jump to the present, we're introduced to Matilda Finn, an agent working for Arcturus, and she has little to no knowledge of her past. She's called in to help with the search-and-rescue and is clearly an experienced soldier. We're finding out information on her background as she does and there's something very mysterious about her.
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Johnson's artwork in Midnight Society is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of detail in the opening scene with the pixie chase is particularly impressive. You can see how Arcturus' contraptions would actually work with each little cog and propeller. It has a bit of a steampunk flair, which is updated over time to become more advanced and futuristic. The art really pulls you in, making you want to learn more about these people and their adventures.
Midnight Society: The Black Lake is off to an intriguing start. Johnson's work grabs you right away, slowly pulling you deeper into this world of mysterious monsters and brave adventurers. The first issue ends rather abruptly, as if this was written as a larger story and cut up to fit within the confines of a single issue. There's no real cliffhanger or sudden reveal. Instead it serves like the end of a chapter with a new scene ready to begin with the next issue.