Written by Stephen Mooney
Art by Stephen Mooney
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Published by IDW
We have now hit the halfway mark of Stephen Mooney’s Half Past Danger and after the more character driven issue #2 Mooney appears ready to ramp the action up to 11.
This issue begins with Ishi, the teams resident ninja, hunting and trapping a dinosaur. However, he appears to be doing this outside of the others knowledge. It seems that our smiling assassin may not have defected all the way. Meanwhile Flynn, Captain Noble and Agent Moss are trying to decide what they are to do with their recently acquired hostage, not to mention that the islands lethal residents appear to be getting packed and ready to be shipped off. Having discovered how the Nazis plan to use the dinos for their own nefarious ends, the trio arrange the details of their assault on the German base.
This leads nicely into a series best scene with Noble and Flynn softening their stance towards each other, which has nicely built on from the groundwork laid down in issue #2. The subtle changes in the characters expressions also adds a weight of sadness to the scene, especially when Noble reveals that one way or another he is not long for this world. The conversation between the two men is tinged with regret from both sides; they are only opening up to each other because both are only too aware that this mission is not one that either is likely to return from. Noble’s origin story is revealed and while it’s hard to have any “Super Soldier” story without making a comparison to Captain America, Mooney neatly sidesteps that potential landmine. He makes Noble a victim of his own genealogy, as opposed to a man who knowingly and willingly signed up for his enhanced strength. The final panel of the two is a gorgeous silhouette of the two men toasting to fallen comrades and neatly mirrors that the two men feel that without their brothers in arms they are now shadows of the men they once were. This “bromance” is ended when Agent Moss – perhaps realizing that she may also soon be a victim of the Nazi Jurassic Park – summons Noble to her tent for some eh…..debriefing. Comedic scenes are very hard to convey in comics, especially wordless ones, but the panels with Noble and Flynn looking at each other with stunned surprised at the request are genuinely laugh out loud funny.
The attack on the compound itself is gloriously next level bonkers, the peak of which is a jaw dropping double page splash of dinosaurs, fires, Nazis, Ninjas and guns. The Mooneyverse (patent pending) doesn’t tend to hold anything back! It is hard not to channel your inner 12 year old in these scenes and smile at the beautiful mayhem. The ending of the issue sets us up nicely for what is shaping up to be this years must read title. One of the unsung strengths of this run is IDW’S decision not to interrupt the story with adverts; the story is allowed to flow naturally. One of my major problems with most other issues – Snyder’s Batman and Superman runs have been particularly guilty of this – is that nothing takes you out of a story quicker than being bombarded with pictures of toys or upcoming computer games mid issue.
Half Past Danger #3 is not only the best issue of the series so far but would be a strong contender for best issue of the year so far. Mooney has forgone the sombre navel gazing of some recent titles and has put the fun back into comics. The artwork is a feast for the eyes and one gets the feeling that the full page showing off all of Agent Moss’s…..talents will be in many a readers mind for quite some time. Also worth a mention is Lee Bermejo’s variant cover which is instantly iconic not to mention breathlessly cool. Mooney has set up all of his pieces on the board and is now confidently hitting his stride towards, what one would hope, will be a satisfying conclusion to one of the most exciting and ambitious titles to come out of the Irish comic scene. The story has drawn comparisons to Indiana Jones and The Rocketeer but for my money I think it is more akin to Gareth Ennis’s opus Preacher or with its cinematic elements Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, in that the story has fantastical elements but the element of realism and the feeling of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances remains. The response to Half Past Danger has been almost universally positive-the first two issues sold out completely at distributor level – so it’s not hard to see why there are elements of the story that will grip fans of several different genres. It appears Mooney has been able to create a perfect storm of action, comedy and drama……….long may it continue!
5 out of 5