Midnight, Mass #1 – 8
Set in the fictional town of Midnight, Massachuesetts, Midnight, Mass is a eight issue series depicting the exploits of Adam and Julia Kadmon, a married couple who also happen to be the greatest paranormal investigators in the world. From John Rozum, the mind behind Xombi, comes this forgotten gem from 2002.
Midnight, Mass is something of an oddity. It was originally solicited and hyped as an ongoing series, only to be cut down to an eight issue mini-series between the time of the initial announcement and it’s actual publication. Rumor has it that creator John Rozum apparently found this out rather late into the game and as a result the eight issues don’t tell a single story arc. Instead it’s comprised of a single issue tale, a two parter, a three issue arc and another two parter which attempts to give the mini-series some sense of closure. Despite this the series is still a very enjoyable ride showcasing much of what made Xombi such a delight while allowing Rozum to portray something that’s rarely seen in American comics.. a happily married couple who enjoy their work. It’s such a refreshing change of pace, particularly in this day and age when American comics seem hellbent on breaking up every long term couple and peppering their supernatural characters with a heavy load of angst and grimness. While Adam and Julia do fight and argue, it’s not done out of bitterness or anger at their lot in life. It’s done out of worry and concern for each other and a certain fear of letting each other down in a life and death situation, but at no point is there a sense that either has to shoulder these problems or troubles alone. If a healthy couple isn’t enough, there’s also a slight inversion of conventional tropes for this genre. Adam’s the mage with an encyclopedic brain but no combat skills and Julia provides the brawn and weapon skills.
This was my first exposure to the artwork of Jesus Saiz and he’s not bad, but I don’t think he was the best fit for this series. Personally I thought one of his weakest points was his depiction Adam and Julia. The couple is described as glamorous and we’re told they’ve made Peoples 50 Most Beautiful People list several times in a row, but Julia doesn’t look that more beautiful then any other woman in the series and Adam doesn’t come off as terribly handsome either. Part of this seems to be his handling of their clothing. In the first issue Adam’s modern jacket is ruined and he changes into an older jacket that’s referred to as looking out of fashion, moth eaten and shabby but it really didn’t look that different from the first jacket he was wearing. Still, his work is clean, clear and easy to follow. Also some of his creature designs are fairly memorable, particularly the assassin in the first issue. For the most part though, he seems to lack a certain sense of mood and ambiance that the series called for. It’s serviceable if an odd and unspectacular fit.
Despite the lack of an overarching story due to behind the scenes weirdness and the average artwork, I still really enjoyed Midnight, Mass and would gladly pay to read more of the Kadmon’s exploits. Any fans of the recent Xombi series looking for similar work from Rozum would do well to give this series a loo as it shares many traits with that series. Unfortunately it might be a bit hard to come by as it’s never been collected, despite doing well enough to warrant a second mini-series Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters. Still, those who can track down the single issues should find Midnight, Mass to be an enjoyable and fun read.
Midnight, Mass was published by Vertigo.