In the previous volume of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, editor Tony Vincenzo moved from INS (Independent News Service) and took star reporter Carl Kolchak with him to The Hollywood Dispatch. Unfortunately, publisher Morgan Slate didn’t like the taste of the supernatural, something that appeared to follow Mr. Kolchak around like a sick, very sick puppy and had Vincenzo fire Kolchak.
Our story begins with Christopher Mills setting up the status quo. The old Kolchak, the one who faced Janos Skorzeny, would have scoffed at a job at the Miami based World Bulletin. Think of the paper as a cross between Weekly World News and The Sun. Mills introduces new characters to Carl Kolchak’s world, and it looks like a perfect fit. Although a reporter with Carl Kolchak’s experience deserves to be working at The New York Times, his encounters with the occult naturally would net him a prime spot in the tabloid hierarchy. The reality of fiction would be considered madness in our factual world.
Before you can say “Sasquatch,” Carl has been given the assignment of tracking down the legendary Florida Skunk Ape, seen dismembering victims in juxtaposition with Carl adapting to his new, oddly respected life. As with any Kolchak: The Nightstalker story, Carl narrates, and Mills replicates his alliterative pulpy prose style, complete with stingers signaling the end of an act. Close your eyes and you can hear the late great Darren McGavin speaking these lines.
Mills pleases fans further by bringing in memorable guest stars from the series. He also slips in a few inside jokes. While everybody will get The X-Files gag, some may need to research the first Mike Hammer on television.
Artist Jaime Martinez incorporates much of McGavin’s personality into a decent likeness of the disheveled reporter as he weaves an exciting documentary narrative that’s draws in the television series format. Given the new setting, Martinez also fills the panels with numerous babes in bikinis. Not an entirely novel notion for Kolchak: The Nightstalker. Despite the premise, the series was always meant for adults, broadcast at 10 o’clock when the wee ones would be safe from vampirized hookers and youth-sucking witches. This new era for Kolchak: The Night Stalker looks to be a good one.