Midnight Nation 8
Review by Mike Helba
Midnight Nation is a 12-issue comic book series written by J. Michael Straczynski and published by Top Cow under the Joe's Comics imprint.
David Grey and Laurel are near the end of their journey in Issue 8, and the strain is reaching its breaking point.
It is becoming more difficult for David to resist the Walker nature that is growing within him. When he loses control Laurel bears the brunt of his rage. As David deals with the guilt for his actions, he realizes that his feelings for Laurel have grown deep over the past ten months.
The allegorical nature of the story becomes very evident in this issue. Laurel begins revealing arbitrary rules that are designed only to provide David with certain experiences. They wouldn't make sense in a real physical world. For example, David must fight a series of Walkers one at a time, but the Walkers don't gang up on him. Also, David must confront a person standing in the road rather than walk around him.
The result is a character who has been put through the ringer multiple times. He has suffered trials of physical, intellectual, and emotional pain. While he may not realize it, they are all designed to teach him something about himself.
Gary Frank's artwork continues to compliment Straczynski's story well. The pain, anguish, and suffering are clear in the facial expressions of the characters.
Early publicity for Midnight Nation indicated that the story would be paced with each issue covering or jumping ahead one month in the story. This is why David Grey was given 11 months to complete his task. It is evident now that this was either an error by the publicity department or Straczynski changed his mind. This is only Issue 8, but David and Laurel have been traveling for 10 months. At the end of this issue they reach New York City, leaving four issues to cover the conclusion that will probably be relatively short in story time. I must admit that I am surprised since I thought that the whole point of Midnight Nation would be found in the journey. I have no idea what is in store for David and Laurel in the next four issues.
My last piece of analysis may spoil part of the story, so I have placed it at the end. You may want to check back here after reading Issue 8.
David Grey receives a premonition of his fate that seems contradictory to him. He apparently will lose his soul and become a Walker, but he does not change into a green creature like the rest of the Walkers.
What does this mean?
Laurel comments in this issue that she is very tired of walking. It occurs to me that this is what she does. She walks to New York, over and over again, escorting victims like David. She is a walker. Could there be some connection to the name used for the green creatures?
I wonder if David's glimpse of the future means he will become like Laurel: doomed to walk through the place in-between escorting victims to their destiny in New York.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 8. It contains spoilers.