After the time travelling antics of Midnight Man’s debut issue that saw him take on the Chrononazi across the whole of history, things take a new intergalactic approach in this new issue from Mo Ali and Andy Bloor. Midnight Man: Gunspace sees our hero blast off into space, confront an alternate version of himself and learn more about his origin in this out of this world follow up to the small press cult favourite.
Publisher: Bad Mother Publisher
Writer: Mo Ali
Artist: Andy Bloor
From the minute Midnight Man launches into space in a very unconventional means of transport you are rocketed into a surreal and bizarre world that feels unlike anything else out there on the small press superhero landscape. MM lands on a planet that is a giant baby called Bob, before engaging in banter with its guardian who is a giant rock monster called ‘Ozzie’. He then blasts off back into a wormhole where he has a brief head-to-head with an alternate universe version of himself called Lady Noon, before seeing his own creation at the hands of the mystic Seven Sages. It’s a pretty weird and crazy ride but it’s one hell of a fun journey.
Mo Ali has crafted a really interesting and compelling lead in MM and he manages this without worrying about too much in the way of back story. Instead MM is wise cracking and sardonic, and although at times he feels like Deadpool meets Rorschach with Monty Python’s sense of humour, he manages to be much more than just another 4th wall breaking anti hero with a pithy one-liner. It helps that Mo puts him into some pretty bizarre scenarios and by not fleshing out his back story too much we aren’t required to attach too much to him as a character. In fact we know very little about the man (or woman!) themselves, which is both a huge positive as he remains enigmatic, but potentially a big negative as we don’t really know his motivations or what drives him – apart from finding out who he is of course! This does mean you have that rare thing of a superhero book which isn’t bogged down with origin and exposition and instead focus on the adventures within and it’s much more entertaining read as a result.
The star of the show in Midnight Man though is artist Andy Bloor whose blacker than black artwork perfectly captures the bleakness of space. However he also manages to take whatever crazy scenario Mo can throw at him and turn it into comic book gold! From the brooding opening in the spaceship, to the surreal Kirby-esque baby planet known as Bob, to the inspired duality of Lady Noon and Midnight Man sitting down for a chat, Bloor manages to excel with every panel. His line work and shading give every panel a depth and range that draws you in to the shadows to find the detail. Yet his characterisation still has a lightness and sense of fun to it that stops it from feeling too heavy and intense. This super dark style also allows a brilliant final scene involving the sages which is told in stark white panels and serves as a brilliant contrast to the rest of the book. He also has a superb eye for design with scenes involving televisions telling our back story, and double helixes in space giving the surreal and rambling story a solid anchor to build around.
In a recent interview Mo and Andy told us that issue 1 was designed to be a one shot that could exist on its own if needs be, and so we are delighted they have managed to put together another issue to develop this superb character, and it has been well worth the wait. Although this has lead to a lightly disjointed story arc between issues, the surreal and off the wall nature of the character allows this to be a feature rather than a negative and this second volume ends up doing a superb job of developing this brilliantly bizarre character without giving away everything in one go. So if you love your superheroes with a generous dose of the sarcastic and the surreal and plenty of space based adventure rendered in gallons of black ink, then you should definitely give Midnight Man a shot as it is a truly out of this world new issue.