Written by Stephen Mooney
Pencils by Stephen Mooney
Inks by Stephen Mooney
Colors by Stephen Mooney
IDW Publishing has developed something as a reputation as the comics company that “puts out all the books based on licensed properties”. So the announcement of a new creator-owned original series might not exactly set the world on fire for fans of Transformers, GI Joe, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Couple that with the fact that Half Past Danger creator Stephen Mooney has made his name as artist almost exclusively working on licensed properties (such as Angel, CSI, and …Teen Wolf?), and this is his first big-time gig as writer; you would be forgiven for thinking that Half Past Danger was no big deal. And you would be dead wrong.
Set during World War Two, Half Past Danger features all the tropes you might associate with a competently written war comic: Grizzled GIs? Check! Classy dames? Check! Nazis up to no good? Check! Dinosaurs…check? Once the Raptors show up you know this is no straight war story. A US military unit investigating Nazi operations in the South Pacific encounters some unusual wildlife on a Nazi-controlled island. Two months later the only survivor is forcibly reenlisted to the war effort. Using this simple premise as a starting point and drawing inspiration from the movies and comics of his childhood, Mooney has crafted a pulp masterpiece. No one is really doing strips like this anymore, so suddenly everything old becomes new again, and what would have felt like an overdone premise in the eighties, in today’s market feels like something bold and innovative. Like the old Republic movie serials and British war and sci-fi strips from which it draws inspiration, the conclusion of issue one leaves you feeling elated, but also disappointed that (like some feeble junkie) you have to wait a month for your next hit.
Despite the 1940s setting and the childhood inspirations, Half Past Danger retains a real contemporary flavor. It has a wicked sense of humor that Garth Ennis would be proud of; in particular a bar fight that wouldn’t feel out of place in an issue of Preacher. In fact, the highest compliment I could give is that Half Past Danger, in both art and writing, has the quality of a Vertigo glory period ongoing.
If you’re one of the spandex set (you know, the type who turns their nose up at anything that doesn’t feature some buxom spandex-clad wench in poses that defy not only what is anatomically possible but also the bounds of good taste) you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you long for the days of Pat Mills’ Flesh in 2000AD, or repeats of King of The Rocket Men during the summer holidays, your ship has come in . Half Past Danger will hit comic shops on May 22nd.
4.5 out of 5 nerds