I just picked up Dark Horse Comics’ Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 and after reading this review it should be evident that you should too. This book is the brainchild of Drew Edward Johnson who serves as the creator, writer, and artist. It also features Lizzy John as the colorist and the lettering of Steve Dutro. It is the first part of a four part miniseries and debuted on June 10th 2015.
Johnson has skillfully combined the elements of steampunk, action-adventure, horror, and mystery into a tale that is hard to put down. The mixture is a wonderful concoction with flavors reminiscent of The Rocketeer, Indiana Jones, Hellboy, B.P.R.D. and the like. It pays homage to a lot of different genres and does it well. That and the name alone reminds me of my favorite Nickelodeon show, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
The masterful storytelling is complemented and furthered along with out of this world artwork, pun intended. The coloring is extraordinary and the tones and shades that are used give depth to the two-dimensional pages. Johnson puts you into the frame of mind of the characters with the usage of such things as inner dialogue and what appears to be authentic British and Scottish slang.
The story dives right into action and intrigue as the reader follows Arcturus Finn and Kevin Kaycee, two scientific explorers with very distinct personalities and agendas, on a journey into a cave pursuing a mythical creature. What they discover there and what they decide to do afterwards cause them to question each others’ motives and eventually leads to the two men parting ways.
The story then transitions forward from around the late 40s into modern times as we are introduced to Matilda Finn. Matilda is a mysterious woman and we soon learn that the reader seems to know as much about her as she knows about herself. She is an operative for a secretive organization called MI:Omega. She is asked by Arcturus, who is now director of MI:Omega, to search for his old friend Kaycee. Kaycee, who is now a famous cryptozoologist, has disappeared under eerie circumstances while on an expedition to Loch Ness to search for Nessie.
I am looking forward to when the second part comes out on August 5th and am excited to see what the future holds for Matilda as she unravels mysteries from the past and deals with what monsters may come from the darkness and into the light. I was left wanting more where the story suddenly ended in this chapter. I can only assume that this was done on purpose as the only real cliffhanger was on the last page with the glimpse of what was next to come. And what a glimpse it was.