Despite his crippling social anxieties, detective Aiden McCormick is the pride of the Detroit Police Department because of his superior investigational abilities. Haunted by the relics of his past, McCormick is tasked with finding the Flayer, a mysterious man responsible for a series of grisly murders occurring throughout the city. Each murder is accented by his gruesome calling card: a distinct triangle cut into the cheek of the victim and the gouging of their eyes. It’s only a matter of time before the Flayer attacks another innocent victim…
Midnight Task Force #1 & #2
Written by: Mark London
Art by: Alejandro Giraldo
Letters by: Andrew Zea
Issue one of Midnight Task Force opens with a scene straight out of horror movie, albeit one that takes place in 2055 (as a caption informs us on the first page). A young couple is assaulted in a parked car by an unseen attacker. The scene is quick and violent and soon we meet series protagonist Aiden McCromick. And it is here where the comic’s narrative starts to reveal itself. Writer Mark London is creating a cyberpunk noir in the vein of Blade Runner. Aiden even has the hardboiled narration and stand off-ish personality of classic noir detectives. It’s fun stuff, but not terribly original. Through a series of meetings with other characters, we are shown the extent of Aiden’s abilities, skills, and tools. Not only is he a genius in the Sherlock Holmes tradition, he is also not exactly sociable. The goggles he wears work as scanners and computers, storing and analyzing data. It’s at the end of issue one that we learn of a twist to the story that stands to make it a little different. I won’t spoil it for potential readers.
Issue two is really where the meat of the story begins, and where some originality begins to creep into this sci-fi tale. The dialog is much improved, and there are even some playful jabs at the noir template and at Aiden himself. It’s also where the mysterious voices inside Aiden’s head that were introduced in issue one are explained. One good bit is a pretty funny scene at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
The art by Alejandro Giraldo was a bit static for me at first, but (like the writing) started to grow on me by issue two. The coloring improves immensely actually, and its neon color hues add a real layer atmosphere to the story. The character faces could use a little detail and work, but the setting and backgrounds are really nicely done. I feel like the art gets a bit better with every panel, trying to find its own style and pace along the way. There are some small details in issue two that are nice, like limbs and word balloons breaking panel borders. This shows me the artist is getting looser and more comfortable with what he is doing.
Midnight Task Force feels a bit like a work in progress. But there is potential here. Issue one was the weaker entry, as by issue two things were improving. If this trend continues, a good book will emerge. It’s also nice to see creators attempt new genres, especially as an independently produced comic book. If you like cyberpunk, give this a try.