The word “cryptozoology” conjures images of intrepid explorers, Indiana Jones-style zoologists who search for legendary creatures in exotic locations, and strange beasts from forgotten epochs of history that somehow survived into the contemporary era. Bigfoot, fairies, and the Loch Ness Monster have all been subjects of cryptozoological investigations. Midnight Society: the Black Lake #1 plays on both the imagery conjured by the word and touches on the two latter subjects of investigation mentioned above. Frankly, issue #1 sets the stage for what could be a great series for fans of shows like Destination Truth and In Search Of …, or readers of comics like Madame Frankenstein or the recently released Mythic.
The first issue of Midnight Society: the Black Lake takes place “many years ago,” in Wales, deep underground in a cave where cryptozoologist Kevin Kaycee and Major Arcturus Finn are searching for proof of the existence of pixies. Kaycee is trying to make a name for himself and, after finding a pixie, makes a rash decision that Finn does not agree with. Fast forward a good twenty years or so, and the reader is introduced to one Matilda Flinn, an agent from a secret organization known as MI: Omega. Arcturus Finn calls on her to search for his old friend, Kaycee, who has gone missing, along with his team, while investigating “a race of ancient, asexually reproducing undersea creatures” living deep under the waves of Loch Ness. Matilda is immediately sent to Loch Ness with an emergency team to search for the missing cryptozoologist and his crew. Issue #1 ends with Matilda and company preparing to dive into the dark waters of Loch Ness.
Writer and artist Drew Edward Johnson is both an excellent storyteller and an exceptional artist. The prologue that introduces Kaycee and Major Finn is a wonderful example of Johnson’s storytelling prowess. He deftly provides the details of the two men’s relationship to one another, their ethics, and their abilities – mostly during a fast-paced action sequence that will not disappoint readers who are looking for excitement right out of the gate. His artwork is realistic, and with the aid of Lizzy John’s coloring skills, quite beautiful. The best artistic showing in issue #1 is Matlilda’s walk through the headquarters of MI: Omega beginning on page 21. The realism, the subtle details to the environment (the “museum” room is a real treat and deserves several viewings just to take everything in), and the bright colors all combine to make up a series of breathtakingly gorgeous panels.
Midnight Society: the Black Lake is off to great start in issue #1. The theme, plot, and art, when taken together, have all the elements for a successful sci-fi meets fantasy book. Readers who are looking for action and adventure should give this series a try, as it is shaping up to be an epic tale.