Night Force (2012) #1
Title: The Gatherers
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Art: Tom Mandrake
Letters: Wes Abbott
Colors: Wes Hartman
Cover Art: Leonardo Manco & Wes Hartman
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Publisher: DC Comics
Night Force is one of those strange niche properties DC has, something that isn’t remembered well by a lot of people, but has its fans. Created by Marv Wolfman in 1982, the concept had a second run in the 90s before coming back for the current miniseries. As I really do enjoy the fact that DC is trying to branch out and explore the non-superhero corners of its universe, I decided to give this title a shot when it was announced. The first issue, though, has simply left me befuddled.
This first issues focuses on Zoe Davis, a young woman who plagued by nightmares. Zoe is saved from drowning by a police officer, then falls in with the mysterious Baron Winters. The book is just kind of odd – Winters is, I believe, the link to the previous series, and the ostensive protagonist of the series, but the ominous figure he casts on this series can’t be ignored. He doesn’t feel like a hero, he feels like the threat that Zoe should be preparing herself to guard against, and I don’t think that’s really the case.
If anything, I think this book presumes too much familiarity on the part of the reader. Those few factoids I shared in the first paragraph are really all I know about the Night Force property, and I got that from an interview Wolfman did when this series was about to launch. By the end of this first issue, it’s not really clear what this book is about.
Helping considerably is the fact that the magnificent Tom Mandrake is doing the artwork. Mandrake is one of those creators really at home in the dark places – he does some of the finest horror comics I’ve ever seen, and his work here continues to impress. With great colors by Wes Hartman, this book has a deliciously dark mood to it that seems perfectly suitable. It gets the tone across even if the plot is somewhat perplexing.
Still, this is the first issue of this seven-issue miniseries. Hopefully issue two will clarify things for me.