Strange things are afoot in the back alleyways of New York City, and a mysterious stranger, and a war veteran may be the only two who can stop the creatures that are coming through the gate. Let’s take a look Gates of Midnight #1 from the all-women creative team at Kymera Press.
GATES OF MIDNIGHT #1
Writer: D Lynn Smith
Artist: Amelia Woo
Colorist: Mirana Reveier
Letterer: Nikki Foxrobol
Publisher: Kymera Press
Cover Price: $1.99 from ComiXology (http://bit.ly/1wK1f8b)
Previously in Gates of Midnight: This is a first issue, so what do you expect? Ok, ok… Raven Moon has recently returned from combat duty in Afghanistan where she served as a medic. She’s suffering from PTSD. Her father, Eddy Moon, is a NYC policeman, and he has a secret that cost him his marriage. And then there is Alex Atkins who knows more about the goings on than anyone else. He’s also Eddy’s secret partner in all things spooky.
THE GATES OF MIDNIGHT DON’T ALWAYS OPEN AT MIDNIGHT
This story has its origins in television. According to D Lynn Smith, Gates was prepped as a television pilot after she and Barbara Hambly read the Mothman Prophecies book. The duo ran with the concept that a gate opens between worlds and allows all manner of monster in – the more horrific an act of violence is, the stronger the gate opening. There is a great discussion of the origins of this series in the back of the issue. I find these kinds of behind the scenes reads quite enjoyable as they not only give me better insight into what is going on in the story, but it also gives me insight into the creators and their process.
For officer Eddy Moon, these open gates are going to be a big problem, as he is constantly confronted with violent acts on a daily basis. It also doesn’t help that he is the warrior tasked with fighting the monsters that come through to our side. Unfortunately, his paranormal partner Alex thinks there are those that are working against them. This comes to a head early in the issue, when Eddy dies fighting a demon, and his daughter Raven is the first paramedic on the scene. There is certainly a lot of coverup taking place on the how and why Eddy died, and his daughter, being rather smart – and also having a gem that fell from the demon’s head wind up in her hands – that puts her in the sights of all the players in this conspiracy game.
From the 30,000 foot view, this story is pretty typical of the hidden-world-discovered-by-newbie-who-is-now-the-chosen-one trope we’ve seen many times before. Knowing that this series had its roots in television makes every plot point that happens in this issue much more clear from the creative perspective. That being said, I really enjoyed the setup. Raven has many issues that she will have to work through, and because I’m guessing she’ll become the new warrior at some point, these issues of PTSD, women veterans, and more can be addressed, characters will get further development, and the series will become very robust.
The Chosen One also allows the world of Gates of Midnight to unfold in a way that let’s the reader grow with it. We won’t need a narrator explaining things, which grows tiresome with me in the long run. The mentor-student relationship has the potential to make everything happen naturally, even if we end up with dialog like “What the heck is that!” “It’s a Blarpin from the 8th dimension, stab it in the ear, that’s its weakest point!”.
The art in this issue blew me away. Over the years I have grown used to art in many comics looking really rough around the edges, but Amelia Woo nails each and every page in this book as far as I’m concerned. No weird anatomy (except for the monsters), no female characters that show their butts and breasts at the same time, and even though Raven looks like Tiffa in a few panels, I can’t wait to read issue two. If there was one thing I would encourage Amelia Woo to look at, it would be to experiment with different page layouts as this book really seems to want to dive into free flowing panel layouts at times.
The one thing that readers will notice right away in this issue, is the brown monotone color scheme throughout. At first I thought this was going to be a big problem, but seeing how Mirana Reveier and Amelia Woo work together to make this color scheme work with the inks is a real joy. If you are someone who needs a splash of color in your comics, there are moments where key elements pop out and get a dash of color. The gem, a dagger, and other items end up getting highlighted with a primary color more than once, and it works!
BOTTOM LINE: SO WORTH THE READ
Everyone knows I’m a sucker for time travel tales. I’m also a sucker for monsters from another dimension/realm stories if they are done well, and Gates at Midnight is one of those that had me from page one. Granted, this is a first issue, and if the series turns into nothing but monster of the week type tales, it could grow old very quickly. I have faith that D Lynn Smith, Amelia Woo, and the rest of the team will be able to tell me something quite different, which is why I hope Kymera Press and ComiXology turn on the Subscribe to This Series button on the ComiXology website real soon, as I don’t want to miss the next issue. Gates of Midnight #1 is so worth the read, I suggest grabbing your own copy today.