Art By: Lara Antal
Every now and again, I am fortunate enough to have a comic handed to me that not only leaves me wanting more but, anticipating it’s next instalment with every fibre of my being. Tales of The Night Watchman #1 has done this for me in ways other indie comics have failed over the last several years. What Kelly and Antal have done is create an introductory issue that, really, doesn’t introduce much. Instead, we learn only about main points in each characters past and well as the setting stones for what is to come in the final three chapters of Volume 1, ‘The Long Fall’. This change of pace with a first issue felt very refreshing. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with information and wondering where this would all be heading, I find myself curious for answers that most would include in an issue 1 (such as where this guy came from, what exactly Merrick did to him, and mostly, when does Nora start kicking some ass too?) and yet, having a clear distinction of what this comic is about and where it may be headed. I have never felt so obliged to say that, only after it’s first instalment, this series is more than likely worth picking up.
Nora is a hard working blogger who has to make a living running a coffee shop. When a strange man from years past shows up in her house, claiming it to be his own, everything changes. Not necessarily for the better but, none the less. She now has a new employee and roommate, you can’t complain when you now only have to pay half the rent, right? Wrong.
When Charlie proves to be a slacker in terms of employment, requesting days on end off and leaving and coming as he pleases, Nora quickly finds herself becoming frustrated with him and their current situation. Sure, he’s unavailable at times because he had to save the world through his possessor, The Night Watchman who protects the world from supernatural obstacles unknown, but it becomes a bit much when he is missing for weeks and leaves no one to replace him.
This issue plays through a series of current on goings and only a few flash backs, all of which are relatively unexplained but, also quite understandable: Merrick had killed Charlie years back, by way of falling off a bridge, and upon his return, Charlie was unaware of his entire life outside of that moment. Now possessed and strong enough to battle any man or ghoul that makes his way onto the wrong path, The Night Watchman only has one thing left to worry about – Where is Merrick and why is the fight they had Charlie’s only memory?
Created by a couple that seems to have strongly put their foot through the comic book world’s door, The Night Watchman has me really excited. We have seen plenty of supernatural heroes before but, none quite like this. He carries an ancient sceptre that seemingly with the will of a thought, can take him and those around him anywhere he chooses – the scary places are most effective in getting a point across though. He balances between the world’s of the easily influenced living and the chaotic dead, both of which he seems to be able to handle quite well. He struggles with nothing but his memory at this time and the psychological battle that is forming has me extremely intrigued.
The first 7 pages of this issue were originally released as a #0 preview for the series awhile back, all of which are beautiful in their own right; however, when you make it to the eighth page, you are in for a whirlwind of black and white beauty. You can really tell how much Antal had improved between the issue 0 release and now, which is a tremendous amount. The shading appears much more smooth and striking compared to the beginning panels, giving the story a more ominous feel of doom and terror. Characters are portrayed impeccably well, there is something about black and white art that really brings out the emotion in characters faces and maneuverings which brings about a pure light on how they truly feel and express themselves. Thus giving them all a very distinct feel and tone while reading.
Tales of The Night Watchman #1 was a truly unique reading experience and one that I recommend you allow yourself. Superhero stories tend to be overdrawn, over exaggerated, and very over done; this back to the basics tale of a man and his roommate battling the dark frontiers day by day, in a moving and enjoyable way adds that breathe of life hero comics have been needing. 9.5 magic sceptres out of 10.
You can find this book for sale at select stores, online purchase and a soon coming digital release on July 30th for Ipod, Ipad and Android devices via Lush Comics. I highly recommend you get around to picking it up through one of these ways and for more information on this and other works of theirs, check out their site: talesofthenightwatman.com