Review: Night Force #1

Night Force #1 cover
Cover by Gene Colan and Dick Giordano

Night Force #1
Published and © by DC, August 1982

Title: “The Summoning: Chapter One: Genesis”
Synopsis: An increase in demonic energies in the Washington, D.C., area puts four strangers on the path to becoming Night Force.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Gene Colan
Inker: Bob Smith

Review: In an era when horror books were again on the decline, fans of the genre had to be excited to see the creative team behind Marvel’s highly regarded Tomb of Dracula (see reviews) reunite on a new title from the Distinguished Competition. Unfortunately, Night Force suffers by comparison. Writer Marv Wolfman’s new cast might grow into something interesting but feels straight out of central casting in this debut. The art is also lacking: At its best, Gene Colan’s work has always been a soft-edged mix of shadows and menace, but here his renderings often just look rushed and sloppy.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan are going about this new book all wrong. …This book may be short lived.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #2, 1982 … “A nonspecific horror series with a cast of expendable characters all revolving around one compelling axis, Baron Winters. … Recommended reading.” – Steve Whitaker, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983

Cool factor: The legendary creative team behind Tomb of Dracula reunite.
Not-so-cool factor: This is no Tomb of Dracula.

Notable: This issue also includes a one-page introductory essay by Marv Wolfman. … According to Wolfman, co-editor Ross Andru has a “deep involvement in things occult.”

Character quotable: “He bothers me, annoys me – he’s always there … like some blasted pimple that won’t go away.” – Dr. Rabin, no fan of Baron Winters
A word from the writer/co-creator: “I enjoy writing horror comics. Why? Because I get to play with real people. I put them in situations and let them react as real people might. Gene enjoys drawing horror comics for the same reason. Gene works best with darkness and shadow, with subtle facial expressions and nuance of character. We seem to also work well with each other.” – Marv Wolman, from an introductory essay in this issue

Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 27, 2022.

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