With the second issue hitting the shelves today, I though it was way past time to discuss the relaunch of the legendary Night Force. One of the many babies of Marv Wolfman, Night Force has returned for a third series and maintains the high standard that some of us will remember from the critically acclaimed original volume.
Many readers today may barely remember the last incarnation of the Night Force, part of DC’s short-lived (but none-the-less fun) Weirdoverse line of titles back in the mid-Nineties. Unfortunately this run never caught the fan-base’s imagination, cancelled after only a year, but then it barely held a candle to the original series from back in 1982.
Long-time DC readers will however be familiar with at least a one or two panel appearance of the enigmatic Baron Winters in most crossover events, especially if the storyline tended towards the mystical.
We’ve never really had the Baron’s origins explained. He remains within the confines of a Georgetown mansion with his companion Merlin, who is a leopard. The poor Baron is unable to leave the mansion, which in itself is a wonder as the doors within seem able to open into anywhere or anytime, enabling the Baron to ‘recruit’ people from across the face of the planet.
It has been suggested in the past that his role is not necessarily to act as an agent of ‘good’ but more as an agent of balance. However, his Machiavellian antics are completely on display in the first issue, abducting a cop and the girl that Winters had anonymously manipulated the cop into saving, from a hospital and with no exposition whatsoever, leaves them to roam his house.
Events indeed overtake the trio, so maybe I’m being unfair; but think Doctor Strange at his most manipulative, or Doctor Druid at his, well, normal behaviour I suppose.
Mr Wolfman leaves us in little doubt as to the Baron’s required stance regarding his volunteers, but also presents us with a mystery that is too obscure for even the sanctimonious Baron to see through. Which is a pleasure for long-time followers of the character, seeing the Baron get a taste of his own medicine. Yet for new readers, no back-story is needed, every aspect is presented as clear as day.
Speaking of clear, I would be remiss without complementing Tom Mandrake on his magnificent art which helps set the scene and the perfect mood for the story. You may remember his work on the Spectre throughout the Nineties, where he made extensive use of shadow; much like the original Night Force series did. However, here the lines are crisp and clear, yet with a beautiful flow to those scenes that demand it. Mr Mandrake has continued to mature as an artist over the years, and once again, he has been given the ideal title to showcase his talent.
Please, please, please do not let this title disappear. Scheduled as a seven-issue mini-series, we must demand that another series follows hot on its heels. Give it a chance and you will be hooked.