Midnight Nation 2
Review by Mike Helba
Midnight Nation is a 12-issue comic book series written by J. Michael Straczynski and published by Top Cow under the Joe's Comics imprint.
Issue 2 of Midnight Nation is very unusual for J. Michael Straczynski. He provides a lot of answers.
Oh, he doesn't give them to us right away. The real explanation doesn't start until page 19. Up until that point, we watch Detective David Grey's frustrations mount as his mysterious guide, Laurel, leads him through the place in-between.
The place in-between is a world that looks just like our real world. The streets are the same, but the inhabitants are different. The people of the real world appear as translucent apparitions to David. The people who reside in the place in-between appear solid, but they all seem to come from the same background. They are the unwanted, forgotten, homeless people that society ignores.
David also learns that The Men patrol the place in-between just as they patrol the world that he has left behind.
Laurel is very casual about the entire experience. She has obviously done this duty several times before. She responds to David's incomprehension with a string of sarcasm. Straczynski seems to be setting up a traditional adversarial relationship in which David can't stand being with Laurel almost as much as he needs to stay with her.
In the last four pages, we get a fairly comprehensive explanation of the setup, and David's goal for the next ten issues is revealed. However, David is left with another question to which he is probably better off not knowing the answer.
Gary Frank's art is quite good once again. The characters are well defined and consistent. There are details in the foreground and the background. Frank uses offset, irregular, and borderless panels plus overlapping art to keep each page fresh.
The back of the magazine has a color preview of the cover to Issue 3 plus art samples from that same issue. It also has a letters column.
With the main conflict of Midnight Nation set up, the story looks to be on the verge of setting off on its deeper allegorical journey.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 2. It contains spoilers.