Midnight of the Soul #1

by Aaron Reese on June 10, 2016

Midnight of the Soul #1

Story and Art by: Howard Chaykin

Midnight of the Soul’s protagonist, Joel Breakstone, personifies has-been cliches like few others. One could accurately accuse him of going nowhere with his life or say that he is just spinning in circles. He hasn’t left his house in a year. He is traumatized by his time fighting Nazis and liberating concentration camps so he doesn’t go out much. In a sadly poetic moment, he drives his motorcycle in tight circles around his small yard.


Joel took a hard turn in life after returning from Europe. Even though America won the war, he returned a loser. He was sent home by a bullet in the arm that first appeared as a blessing, but soon turned into a catalyst for substance abuse and self-medication. He has wrecked every aspect of his life. His attempts at becoming a writer have stalled after five years of rejection. He lost the title to his house and has forced his wife into taking drastic measures to make ends meet. The tragedy is complete because Joel knows how much damage he’s causing, but he’s too emotionally crippled to alter course.


After one issue, Midnight of the Soul follows a well-beaten noir path, which is the beauty of it. At the heart of any good noir story are intriguing, conflicted and damaged characters. It’s easy to relate to Joel’s blunders. It’s easy to pity him and worry about him. Therefore it’s easy to root for him. That’s what a good noir story needs.

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