By Todd Allen
DC has announced Night Force is returning as a 7-issue mini-series in March. This will be the third revival for the series, which retains its original writer: Marv Wolfman.
Night Force originally dates back to 1982, when Wolfman and Gene Colan reunited after their long run on Tomb of Dracula. The first run lasted 14 issues. The second series went for 12 issues from 1996-97, with a variety of artists like Brent Anderson and Matt Smith joining Wolfman.
Night Force is a sort of horror version of Nero Wolfe. The main character is Baron Winters, a mysterious man living in a magical mansion that seems to exist outside of time. Winters, like Wolfe, doesn’t like to directly participate in adventures or leave his mansion (which might also mean wanting to make sure he didn’t run into a future or past version of himself). He will routinely assemble a “Night Force” of operatives when a situation arises that needs… correction.
Joining Wolfman on the art, this time around, is Tom Mandrake. This sounds like a very good pairing. Mandrake has done a little horror work over the years, notably a great run on the Spectre with John Ostrander and a lesser known Image book titled Creeps.
DC is promoting this as having been a sort of Vertigo forefather and that’s a reasonably accurate description. The 90s series probably could have been slipped into Vertigo with a minimum of tweaks. As such, this is a pretty logical addition to the DC corner that houses Animal Man, Swamp Thing and I… Vampire.
Wolfman on the new series:
This new NIGHT FORCE story takes place over hundreds of years, but happens in the space of minutes. It is about a frightened young woman, the product of many generations of secret manipulations, a cop who is about to retire from the force and a cold case investigated by his dead FBI father many years before, a mysterious cult that is affecting the future but began on the night George Washington died, and a secret that will change the course of mankind forever.
Editor Jim Chadwick:
But this is clearly not an exercise in nostalgia. Nor is it intended to be a retcon. We are refreshing the Baron’s look but he’s still the same character and past continuity does factor into the new series a bit, though you don’t need this knowledge at all to follow or enjoy the mini-series. It’s more of a tip of the hat to long time readers. Another crucial difference is that the Baron is much more proactive as a character than he’s been in the past. The threat that he faces is very direct and the sanctity of his Wintersgate Manor is violated by the greatest threat he’s ever dealt with. It’s not enough for him to form a new NIGHT FORCE. He definitely has to get his hands dirty in this one.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.