Current Reviews


JSA All Stars #6

Posted: Monday, October 13, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writers: David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns and Brian Azzarello
Artists: Stephen Sadowski and Eduardo Risso (p), Wade Von Grawbadger and Eduardo Risso (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

As Doctor Mid-Nite descends into the subway tunnels to rescue a survivor of a train wreck, he discover before he can rescue her from the twisted wreckage, he has to help the expectant mother deliver her child. Meanwhile, the Golden Age Doctor Mid-Nite targets a criminal who has been taking out his frustrations on his girlfriend, but we discover that the woman's suffering may have been overplayed, as she was ready to skip town with a sizeable chunk of his ill-gotten gains.

When I was a great deal younger, I was a big fan of Doctor Mid-Nite, as I felt his costume looked extremely cool, and his ability to see in the dark combined with his blackout bombs was an ever impressive power (plus he had a pet owl, which at the time seemed like a fun idea ... in fact I must confess is still sounds like a fun idea). Now looking back on the character with my adult, decidedly more jaded eyes, I can't help but feel Doctor Mid-Nite's power is a rather limited ability, and the idea of a hero that runs around punching people that can't see him isn't the most engaging gimmick. However, the new Doctor Mid-Nite does have a fairly interesting personality, as much like the new Mr. Terrific he's exceptionally cool under pressure, and while he's largely been regulated to the role of the team doctor who patches his fallen teammates back together, while the other are busy saving the world, I must confess I rather like the unflappable nature of the character, and I rather wish his relationship with the Black Canary hadn't been cut off at the knees, as the character would've likely benefited from this attachment. As for this issue, the main reason I've been trying to avoid it is that it's an utterly conventional story that's utterly devoid of any real tension or drama. There's not ticking clock dilemma, or any kind of complication that manages to do away with my general disinterest in this issue's opening story.

As for the art, it's always good to see the work of former JSA penciler Stephen Sadowski, as he has a clean style that has a firm grasp on all the fundamentals, while also managing to impress with the level of detail on the page. The credit page shot of Doctor Mid-Nite is ever impressive, and its heroic look is nicely contrasted by the shot later in the issue of the character holding the child he just delivered. The art also manages to make good use of the darkened environment to suggest the level of destruction without having to go all out and deliver it. Also while it's a little touch, I rather enjoyed the panel layout used on the final page, as it allows for an impressive closing shot of the character. As for the backup story, all my concerns about Eduardo Risso's art being too rough looking to convey Batman, were effectively erased by this backup story, as it's a wonderful display of light and shadows to convey an oppressive, decidedly sinister looking world, which should be a perfect fit for Batman.

Final Word:
I realize that this is supposed to be where I basically repeat comments I made earlier in a bid to reinforce my thoughts on an issue, and generally pad my reviews. However, other than comment that the opening story of this issue is a run-of-the-mill adventure, with no real surprises in store for anyone who has read the miniseries that introduced the character into the DCU, I find it difficult to get overly worked up by the first story to continue beyond this point. However, thankfully this book has itself a second story that is handled by the upcoming Batman creative team, and while the six pages they have to work with doesn't allow for a particularly complex story, they do manage to convey an nice film noir atmosphere, and based on this brief little look at what they can do, I'm rather looking forward to their Batman run. Plus, in spite of its abbreviated length the story does manage to deliver a rather clever twist in its final pages, that makes one question if Doctor Mid-Nite has been played for a fool.

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