Night Force: Marv Wolfman, Tom Mandrake, Wes Hartman, Wes Abbott, Leonardo Manco
Each issue, it seems, we’re given more information that builds and develops the secret order and the strange creatures within it…and less about the actual main characters.
With Duffy and Zoe, we learn the following: Zoe was raped by Senator Greene, her mother and grandmother were also raped and gave birth, Duffy and Zoe are the two figures young Duffy saw fleeing the scene of his father’s attack and death, and that Zoe’s practically the only Gen 9 who can produce a perfect, healthy Gen 10 baby.
With these evil ones, we learn all about the nurses, the harvesters, and the gatherers. We learn how they interact and what they do during the gestation process. We also gain a brief look at why they’re doing this…because of the innate psychic ability every human possesses, and their desire to raise the potential of accessing it, like you would raise a certain breed of dogs for their traits. It’s pretty ingenious. However, we still don’t know to what end. Part of me is starting to like that, the mystery of it. What ARE they planning to do? It helps me put myself in the position of the “heroes” of the book, who know about the same amount of info as I do. That’s a rare feeling.
Beyond all that information, there’s actually little more that’s developed. I would like to say that this series is rich in its content and characters, but so far it’s only done a good job of building a significant backstory in 4 issues. But when I say backstory, I mean like hundreds of years ago kind of stuff. Even the most recent events - the rapes of Zoe’s mother and grandmother - haven’t been really explored or shown. Most of the past stuff is literal history. Revolutionary War. Founding Fathers. That kind of stuff.
Interestingly, on that, is that it seems our Founding Fathers made a deal with these creatures so that they could win the war and their independence. How do you like that idea? That the victory for our country was won because a dark, possibly evil deal was struck with monstrosities, for there was no way we could’ve won otherwise? I like that.
Meanwhile, the Baron is learning everything he can about what he’s up against, and killing people painlessly in the process. He also speaks to Merlin, but we don’t see a Merlin to speak to in the whole issue. We’re led to believe that possibly his cheetah/leopard is Merlin. An interesting idea, though I’m not sure how or why the most powerful wizard of all time would conform to such a shape…especially if he’s better known as certain characters in other DC titles. That being said, does this story take place in an alternate world?
Mandrake’s art in this issue is typical of the others. There are moments where it’s really great, and clean, and polished. There are others where it seems more rushed and sketchy. I understand that both are legitimate styles artists can have, but you usually don’t see them both used in the same issue by the same artist. That’s what’s throwing me off here. It’s very possible that Mandrake is aware of the differences between, say, the first and last pages of the ish, and the sequence where Duffy’s dad’s being attacked. Perhaps it’s purposeful that the art is slightly different. Can’t say.
Night Force #4 of 7, the verdict: Last half of the miniseries and I’m still waiting for something significant. Maybe I’m too impatient, but it feels like it’s dragging along. The end of this issue actually pushes events forward, it seems. There’s apparently a trap involved, and Baron Winters may be out of commission. This is exciting (mainly because we may not have to deal with his cryptic dialog for a bit), and perhaps will finally force Duffy to actually do something, to act. Because so far he’s just been a reactionary force in the book.
(Photo Source: DC Wikia)