We all have come to know the stories that came out of World War II. From the heroes who liberated the camps, the resistance groups who fought against Nazi occupation, to the stories of the millions of lives lost in the bitter Russian winter. What doesn’t normally get told are the countless stories of returning GIs trying to adjust back into civilian life. In the movies, they normally show that there are happy endings, as these men return to family with open arms. What doesn’t get talked about are the PTSD episodes, night sweats, or the broken relationships that come as a result of the horrors of war.
Midnight of the Soul #1 is written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin. As I sat in my back room reading , Chaykin’s writing pulled me right into the war within the mind of Joel Breakstone. Joel is a man who liberated Auschwitz, but has become a prisoner of his own mind. Chaykin’s detail of Joel’s trouble post war life is both chilling and a breath of fresh air.
It’s not often that writers try to tackle to complex issues related to those who suffer heavy mental trauma, but Chaykin does it justice. At times reading Breakstone’s current life is unconformable, from his use of alcohol, to his homelife with his wife, you are reminded that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Though, I do wish Chaykin spent a little more time on Joel’s experiences during the war, so that we could have a better understanding of Joel’s current condition.
The illustration in Midnight of the Soul #1 is good. It doesn’t jump out at me, but it does a good job of carrying the story visually for the reader. Chaykin’s paneling throughout the comic is easy to follow, and at the same time allows you to just flow through the story.
Jesus Aburtov’s colors were solid. He gives the world a blue tint which helps to set the mood and tone of the entire piece. Both the illustration and coloring of Midnight Soul #1 didn’t outshine the writing. Some might find that as a complete negative, but personally words carry more weight in a story than art. I do feel that the art could have used a bit more realism, but as it is ,it doesn’t take away from the story that Chaykin creates.
Midnight of the Soul #1 is a powerful story from the start. You are placed into the world of a man who after suffering the horrors of war, is now battling the war within himself. The situations you see Joel Breakstone go through aren’t all that different than what we are seeing today with veterans returning from combat in the Middle East. The illustration and coloring were both well done, but not overdone. Howard Chaykin does a good job at taking you out of this world, and into the world of Mr. Breakstone. Jesus Aburtov brings life to that world with his coloring talents. If you’re looking for strong story, that isn’t afraid of real world issues, then Midnight of the Soul #1 is a worthwhile buy.
- Strong real world writing, which showcases both the horrors of war, and the horrors awaiting those who return.
- Solid coloring by Jesus Aburtov that gives the world an almost blue tint to it; it helps to set a gritty mode to the overall story.
- Joel’s experiences in the war could have been more detailed
- Illustration could have been a bit stronger