Midnight of the Soul #2

by Aaron Reese on July 11, 2016

Midnight of the Soul #2

Story and Art by Howard Chaykin
Published by Image Comics

Like the previous issue, Midnight of the Soul #2 overflows with a noir tone. It’s even more prominent this time around because all the characters have made their way to New York City, the epicenter of noir storytelling.


Not as much happens this time around. Some of the things we learned last issue are expanded, but that’s about it. We are introduced to the inevitable crime lord because this is a noir story and noir stories need prominent crime figures.


Last issue, Joel found out that his lovely wife, Patricia, had cheated on him repeatedly with a famous musician. Joel shakes loose the anxiety that tethered him to his suburban home heads off to New York for the first time in years, despite living only minutes away. The musician is killed and to anyone giving a cursory look, Joel looks like the prime suspect. Joel briefly rediscovers the callousness that served him so well in World War II. Upon discovering the musician’s body, he casually steps over it to investigate more interesting things. The musician was on the fringe of a criminal organization and blackmail scheme that implicates Patricia. The pieces aren’t all in place yet, but we have a pretty good idea that Joel and Patricia will soon be targeted by dangerous people.


Things slow down and we’re given more ruminations about Joel’s life. We see a few more connections form. Characters are introduced. Themes are reiterated. In case Joel’s guilt in all this was too nuanced in the first issue, the point is driven home by a friend of Patricia’s, who tells Joel that everything is his fault. He agrees. Joel’s substance abuse problems and agoraphobia prevented him from keeping, or even getting, a job. He failed as a writer and his wife was the one holding things together, even though she did so by compromising her integrity in every possible way.


This issue shows some weaknesses in the artwork that wasn’t present last issue. In what appeared to be a fight scene, it was difficult to tell if Joel was throwing punches or just oddly posturing.


This issue added intrigue that promises action soon. It wasn't as entertaining or as illuminating as the previous issue. However, it breathed life into the characters surrounding Joel and wove a few new threads into the narrative. A few questions pop up in this issue that should have interesting answers. How will Joel behave when he sobers up? Is Patricia a femme fatale or damsel in distress? How will the crime boss deal with the problems made by this murder? The story slowed, but didn't lose me.


Our Score:


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