On Captain Midnight #15, Catching up with Time, And Black Sky Impending
HMS: Let’s talk about Captain Midnight.
SA: You’ve been someone who’s been interested in these books from the beginning, right?
HMS: Yes. I’m into Captain Midnight. I was really personally excited by Victor Ibanez’ return here for the covers in #15.
SA: Yes, he drew those first few chapters. He did a really great job of establishing the world and characters, so Jim Gibbons, the editor on Captain Midnight, was really psyched to bring Victor back for these covers. The interior artists have been really solid too. Manuel Garcia is doing the interiors on #15. This one has brought back a special character. In the “Two Past Midnight” graphic novel that Duane Swierczyski wrote and Jim edited, a team-up book that brought Ghost, X, and Captain Midnight together, a villain named Tempus turned up. He’s been brought back in this issue.
HMS: Yes. And he’s kind of a reasonable foil for Captain Midnight, who could potentially win in this situation. They have this big war of words against each other in this issue, where they are talking about intellect and action, and having strange arguments about what beats what in a fight.
SA: And they’re both inventors, so they’re well paired against each other, and both rely on technology somewhat. But Cap is definitely the smarter of the two and possessed of more foresight.
HMS: Which he points out, as he’s doing things, which is fun. It reminds me of how Sherlock Holmes occasionally does that.
SA: So you caught the issue where Rick Marshall died?
SA: Rick was a fan of Cap’s in the past, and he believed in Cap when everybody else was uncertain about this guy. Rick believed in him the most, and was willing to follow him through anything, but paid the ultimate price.
HMS: Which creates perhaps a kind of mental transformation that we’ll see in this issue where he starts talking about the past versus the future.
SA: Yes. Cap’s relationship to the past and the future is unusual because he jumped 70 years through time, and hardly anyone he knows from back them remains alive, and the world’s completely changed. But he was a Futurist, a real idealist, who believes that mankind could achieve anything. So when he showed up in 2013, he was mostly just disappointed that we hadn’t made more advances. That our squabbling and our pettiness had held us back from what he thought we would have been able to achieve by now.
This issue, #15 also starts to hint at the return of a big villain from old Dark Horse superhero books who has been slowly popping his head up in X and other places. The Captain Midnight, Ghost, and X books were all really done to stand on their own, but we’ve been showing ways in which they’re all connected. And the introduction of this villain in Cap #15 is the first indication of how they are going to come together in a much bigger event and crossover.
HMS: Is this a separate event and crossover, thematically, than Project Black Sky?
SA: Oh, no, this is the whole point of Black Sky.
HMS: I was wondering if that was what you were getting at.
SA: When we did the crossover that Swierczyski wrote, with Tempus, the villain who returns in this issue of Cap, that was the minor crossover. But now we’re starting to get deeper into what the crossover is about. There are some big changes and shake-ups in the Captain Midnight title coming soon.
HMS: Yes, this definitely feels like a transition issue because of his mental state and what he says near the end. It’s like he’s reached a conclusion point, and a resolve, to no longer obsess over, as you mentioned, the failure of mankind, and his disappointment. Like he’s accepting that to become more empowered.
SA: Yes, and to participate in the modern world. There’s this funny interaction between Cap and a waitress in #15, in a small town diner. It’s the first time he’s tried to function like a normal guy living in the modern world, and he’s a little rusty, but it’s his first step towards living a life again. Because he hasn’t been focused on that. He’s been focused on a quest that he had to abandon for 70 years and now he’s trying to pick it up where he left off. And it’s a mess for him.
HMS: Something I’ve always thought about Dark Horse’s revival of Captain Midnight, and then looking at the original Captain Midnight character from the 30’s, is that to make the story modern and make it new, you have to turn that absolutist mindset of his and examine it to make him three dimensional enough.
There are a couple of lines of dialogue in this issue, I think when he’s talking to Tempus, where he articulates that there is more to him than that. That he’s having to face that truth. Because it’s more difficult to think in gray than think in black and white, but it goes along with his decision to be part of the modern world. He has to change if he’s going to be.
SA: Yes, and the people he’s been around, the people he’s been with over the past year or so of the book, have all been trying to get him to see that in their own way. But he’s been resisting because he comes from the World War II generation and he really believes that the enemy is wrong, and his country is right. But it’s just a much more complicated scene than that. Especially if he’s going to ally himself with people like X.