Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NIGHT FORCE #8 - July 1997

Gems (Convergence Part Two)
Credits: Marv Wolfman (writer), Matt Smith (penciler), Steve Mitchell (inker), John Costanza (letterer), Lee Loughridge (colorist)

Summary: A pregnant runaway named Lea crashes her car into a young man. She takes him to the nearest home, the mansion that belongs to Baron Winters. Winters treats the young man, discovering that he has no pores, nipples, or sex organs. While Winters is distracted with Lea, the young man, Child, awakens and searches the manor for a link to the Conclave. Members of the Infinity Cult watch through Child’s eyes as he attempts to trap the manor inside limbo. Topaz suddenly appears and fights Child. Baron Winters interrupts the fight and casts both of them out, ignoring Topaz’s warnings of Amethyst’s plans. When Winters returns to his room, he discovers the Infinity Cult has removed Lea’s child and killed her.

Irrelevant Continuity: Lea was first introduced to the Infinity Cult by her local Senator, who is presumably the same Senator we saw in the previous chapter of the crossover. What exactly the Infinity Cult is isn’t explained, but the story helpfully explains how they gang-raped Lea and impregnated her with twins “one light, one dark” that could be the saviors of the universe.  Remember, any comic without gang rape is at least 40% less daring and relevant.

Review: “Convergence” continues through three other DC Casualties from the ‘90s, making this a strong contender for the “Crossover Least Likely Ever To Be Reprinted” prize. My knowledge of Night Force is that it was an early ‘80s DC series created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan after both left Marvel. It didn’t have a lengthy Tomb of Dracula run, but it was revived by Wolfman and a rotating series of artists in the late ‘90s. This issue is penciled by Matt Smith, an artist who bravely blends Mike Mignola with more Mike Mignola to create a look that’s oddly reminiscent of Mike Mignola. His characters can be hard to tell apart, and while most of his storytelling is clear, his depiction of Topaz’s exit from his fight with Child leads me to believe the character has spontaneously exploded, which I don’t believe was the writer’s intent. Not that Wolfman’s plot is perfectly clear, either. The concept of Night Force is never explained during the story, nor is the Infinity Cult or the elements from Book of Fate that precede this issue. New readers picking up this comic for the crossover have to be confused, possibly just as much as the existing readers who don’t follow Book of Fate (which is often impenetrable anyway.) I hate it when fans declare that a book “deserved” to be cancelled, but it’s not hard for me to discern why DC’s fringe titles couldn’t maintain an audience. This is far more reader-unfriendly than the average X-book from the ‘90s.

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