Dark Horse Comics has made a commitment it seems. That commitment is in its presentation of more traditional superhero types with the standard Dark Horse touch creating characters and stories that dig a little deeper and make the superhero more fleshed out and full. To help them with this commitment, they have decided to reach back to the Golden Age of comics and find heroes within the public domain with which they can write a new chapter to once great and stoic icons of the 1940s and 50s. They started this commitment with Captain Midnight. And now, they have pulled another one from times of yore with Skyman. Actually, if anyone has been reading Captain Midnight you may have remembered seeing Skyman, or at least a version of Skyman in issue four. It wasn’t a pretty portrayal as Skyman who is actually one person in the role followed up by a group of elite super soldier types who are training to become the next one donning the Skyman super suit and doing the country’s bidding whether it be good, bad, or ugly. Well the current Skyman kind of came on in a very negative way (and in public no less) bringing to light this highly secretive operation that was instituted as a replacement to Captain Midnight after his disappearance in the 1940s.
Skyman issue one picks up from that continuum as another incident in occurs that has the press pushing the government hard for answers of this secret group that has some serious public relation issues. The program needs to continue because of its value, but in a much better and more politically correct light than has been portrayed recently. Enter a new soldier to be the face and personage of Skyman. His name is Sergeant Eric Reid and he is a disabled African-American veteran. He might just be a true deal hero too. Only the future holds the answers and after reading this first issue of a four issue arc, you will want to know more.
Though this is just a mini tied into the Captain Midnight and Project Black Sky story line, Skyman issue one holds up just fine on its own. A Golden Age hero who appeared in over one hundred issues during the 1940s has fresh new life and really has gone to the next level in a great way.
Joshua Hale Fialkov has created a story that has a perfect balance of action, drama, suspense, and even some humor in portraying the Skyman Program’s next hero who let’s just say doesn’t have many friends within the Program itself. I found the writing completely fresh and modern with excellent use of modern themes of duty, honor, and loyalty tied in to today’s very real issues of secrecy in the name of safety.
Very much like the Captain Midnight art, I found Manuel Garcia’s renderings to really give great respect to such an old character. The characterizations are intense and dead serious even when dealing with issues like super suits. It all looks great with excellent uses of shadow and color making a hero that can stand the test of time and hold his own in any fight he may be up against.
Though it is only a four issue miniseries, it is my hope that this new direction from Dark Horse regarding superheroes is here to stay. They have done an admirable job and I look forward to seeing the next steps taken in resurrecting these great Golden Age characters and in traducing them to today’s audiences.
Writer: Joshua Hale Fiakov Artist: Manuel Garcia Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/15/14