(IDW Publishing, 2014)
Created, Written & Drawn by Stephen Mooney
Color Artwork (Issue #1) by Stephen Mooney
Color Artwork (Issues #2-6) by Jordie Bellaire
Half Past Danger is a book you should pick up. Really. You should stop now and go buy it. I could end the review right there, but then it wouldn’t be much of a review and my editor would stop sending me stuff and I would be out all of these wonderful comics and things…and the chance to see more work from Stephen Mooney.
Mr. Mooney thanks his father in the preface for taking him to the movies. It is evident by the content and pacing of the book that film did indeed have a massive effect on the way he views the world. Half Past Danger is cinematic in scope, pacing, and filled with more nods than church on a hazy Sunday morning.
I know why I love it so much. That’s not the problem here; it’s describing it without giving away too much. I want the thousands of readers that will come upon this to be instantaneously transported to their youth.
I saw references to the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn, Indiana Jones, G.I. Joe, Captain America, James Bond, The Lost World, JAWS, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October…just so many threads, all bound together to create a new and taut shank of rope called Half Past Danger.
We have Staff Sergeant Thomas Michael Flynn, a veteran of the war in the Pacific, returned home and shell-shocked after the massacre of his squad on a remote island. By dinosaurs. He is recruited by an elite squad led by an English MI-6 Agent to go back to the island and find out what the Nazis want with the dinosaurs there. Also on the team are a Japanese defector and an American G.I. They go to the island and all hell breaks loose.
A quick word on Commandant Toht, our villain of the day. Mooney has created a pitch-perfect bad guy without making him seem hokey or hackey. He is the master of every situation, servant to no one but his cause, willing to die for such a cause, not willing to give quarter to any that oppose him. He’s the kind of villain that can only be stopped by a force of nature.
One of the great things about this is that Mooney also drew the book. It often seems that writers and/or artists want to cross the border and do the other. The art is perfect for the book, a reflection on Mooney’s skill as a designer as well as his love of the pulp genre. Everything was considered in this book, even the yellowed look to the pages, which helps to evoke that noir feeling even though most of it takes place in the South Pacific. Jordie Bellaire lent her fantastic coloring talents to all but the first chapter in the book, and succeeded in making the transition so smooth I couldn’t tell there was one.
If you love any of the films mentioned at the start of this review, then check out Half Past Danger. If you grew up in the 80’s, check out Half Past Danger. If you like comics, check out Half Past Danger. If you’re still reading this…why are you still reading this? Go buy Half Past Danger. It’s one of those books that you’ll read and keep, because you know that you’ll read it again and love it just as much the second and third times.
And…true to film, there’s a teaser at the end.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.