Doctor Mid-Nite
by Matt Wagner,
John K. Snyder III
(DC Comics, 2000)

Doctor Mid-Nite is a moody reinvention of a classic, Golden Age hero from the ranks of DC Comics. Brought back in time to join (and lead) the new Justice Society of America, this stand-alone collection -- originally a miniseries written by Matt Wagner and painted by John K. Snyder III -- provides his background and origin.

It's not a terribly original tale, and yet it manages to rise above the various similarities to other classic titles with tight storytelling and splashy, tension-building art.

Dr. Pieter Cross is a selfless man, a brilliant doctor by day who seeks out and helps the unfortunate people who can't afford his services by night. But a terrible accident steals his sight, and with it his motivation to live, much less help others. But then he discovers his vision isn't really gone after all....

Like I said, it doesn't exactly scream originality. But it does present the story in a well-written package that includes a strong protagonist, an equally strong and varied supporting cast (including a fairly unique choice in sidekicks), and stark, shadowy art that sets the mood perfectly.

Doctor Mid-Nite is no Superman or Wonder Woman, with great powers at his side. He's more like Batman -- although not in his league -- while his night vision gives him an unusual edge. For my part, the DC Universe has enough superpowered brawlers; it can use more heroes like this one, who walk among us and fight crime in the streets and alleys, at its own level.

by Tom Knapp
24 February 2007

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