Not too long ago, we reviewed Kyle Puttkammer‘s Hero Cats of Stellar City #6, a book full of action, intrigue, and cats! For those of you that have been keeping up with the series, it’s really starting to take off. It’s doing so well in fact, that Puttkammer and co. have begun work on a solo title for Hero Cats member Midnight! Midnight Over Stellar City follows Midnight as he stealthily infiltrates, investigates, and incarcerates law-breakers at every turn. Just think of Midnight’s solo book as the Detective Comics to Hero Cats of Stellar City‘s Justice League. Midnight Over Stellar City can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, and proves once again that you just can’t have too many cats. Now without further ado, let’s take a spoiler-free look at the very first issue of Midnight Over Stellar City!
This first issue deals with Midnight’s investigation of Cassiopeia’s brother Bandit’s disappearance after the Hero Cats’ battle with the inter-dimensional-traveling villain known as The Crow King. Fans of Hero Cats of Stellar City will be glad to know that Ace and Rocket make cameo appearances in Midnight’s first solo outing, but Puttkammer is careful not to let them steal the limelight from our titular hero. It is clear that by now each character has evolved into their own niche in the group, and that Puttkammer is doing a wonderful job of developing his characters and creating a rich and varied experience for his readers. Midnight Over Stellar City gives fans a chance to see how Midnight operates on his own when he isn’t working with the rest of the Hero Cats team, and while his adventures can be enjoyed separately from the overarching Hero Cats storyline, they do tie in nicely for readers of both titles. That’s not to say that you have to read both, but it’s recommended that you do so since Midnight does such a fantastic job of fleshing out the Hero Cats universe. It would be like reading The Avengers every month without checking out Captain America or Iron Man once in a while. You just wouldn’t be getting the big picture.
Complete with noir style artwork and narration that is not unlike something you’d see in a Batman or Question comic, Midnight Over Stellar City is decidedly more gritty in tone when compared to Hero Cats of Stellar City. From the cover and very first pages of Midnight, it becomes apparent that this is a sizable departure from the series’ flagship title. Lines such as “I am Midnight!…and I am the claws of justice!” in the opening narration may seem familiar to some older readers, as they are very reminiscent of a certain famous scene from Batman: The Animated Series. You might be seeing a pattern here with all of these similarities to our favorite, brooding crime fighter, but I think this is actually a good thing. There was an almost nostalgic feeling to the opening pages of Midnight, which really drew me in. I always appreciate when writers can homage popular works in creative ways without diminishing the identity of their own work, and Midnight does this very well.
Visually speaking, Midnight Over Stellar City is almost the exact polar opposite of Hero Cats of Stellar City. While the latter features warm, bright colors, Midnight Over Stellar City is dark and ominous, with lots of blues and purples. And lightning. Lots of lightning. Alex Ogle impresses with his use of light and shadow, which, while setting the mood for the book, is also indicative to Midnight as a character. This works well, as it sets Midnight apart as its own book and gives fans of the characters a bit of variety as they jump from one title to another. I think the direction the team took with the art in Midnight was an excellent choice; it’s the kind of thing you might read with a flashlight while huddled inside a tent made of blankets (cliche alert!). There is also a variant cover for Midnight #1 drawn by Marcus Williams, who does the pencils and colors for Hero Cats of Stellar City. Take a look:
For fans of Hero Cats of Stellar City, Midnight is a slam dunk and should not be missed, while for those of you that haven’t yet had the chance to check out Hero Cats, Midnight’s solo book is still worth picking up since it stands alone quite well. If you’re like me and you read a lot of independent titles each month, Midnight is a fun book if you are looking for something a little different. There are a lot of fun little references inside to keep even the most seasoned comic readers busy, and it is highly entertaining for you (fellow) cat owners out there.
The world seems to be ruled by dogs these days, but I personally think that’s only because the cats are allowing it for their own clandestine purposes. Show ’em you mean business and grab all your Hero Cats related merchandise here! Cats rule!
Will you be picking up Midnight Over Stellar City? Let us know what you think in the comments section and on our Twitter page!