Friday, March 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Nightwatch

Who is Nightwatch? That is a question many current comic book collectors of a younger age ask when they run across the obscure Marvel character in back issue bins, that is if they even see an issue in back issue bins. Nightwatch is a series that ran for 12 issues and starred an African American character that came from the pages of WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #100. The origin of Nightwatch can be found there in part. The true origin is shrouded in time travel and nannite technology.

The cover to Issue #1 here is gold looking but in reality it is a foil cover background that has a silver hue to it. Yes, this book came out back in the days of laser prism holo-foil covers. It also was back when every non-mutant character not tied to the X-Men had to have the required Spider-Man appearance and lecture from Spidey as to how to be a hero and that he would be watching. So Peter Parker is one of the hostages at the prison in the opening scenes. The prison will be returned to at a later date. One plus is that this book runs like a TV show in respects to story. It knows it is only running for twelve issues and it tells the story in a way that makes for an exciting read.

Kevin Trench is Nightwatch. He is a man who died as he received his costume and powers. He said goodbye to the love of his life and then is attacked by invisible assailants after a strange energy mass appears before him. He is being battered as another energy mass appears and the Nightwatch costume appears being worn by a man who saves Kevin Trench. That man behind the mask who is fatally wounded is none other than, Kevin Trench. Kevin Trench watches himself die. So right from the start our hero is under a ticking clock to his own death.

It all revolves around the costume. Let us get the obvious out of the way, yes, it resembles SPAWN. Whether by design or accident I do not know. What is clear is that the suit is an advanced nannite construct that uses the body’s adrenaline to enhance strength, speed and healing. The wearer is rendered tired after prolonged use. Kevin Trench spent years after the incident at the airport where he was attacked and watched the plane the love of his life was on explode. She got better, which is my joking way of saying that the layers of mysteries are legion in this title. The cape of the suit is adaptable as is the suit. It literally devours materials from the same research and nannites as it is made of and encounters them in this timeline. This enhances the suit and as the series concludes we learn the full measure of the Nightwatch costume’s transformative capabilities.

Venom makes a short appearance and is another of the obligatory character appearances required during that time. Of more interest is the guest appearance of Cardiac. He is an anti-hero from the pages of Spider-Man that focuses on destroying those that deal in corrupt medical dealings. He is another educated African American character from that time period. His beta powered body is connected to the Nightwatch research and he is Kevin Trench’s old roommate. I liked that he was in the mix. He was a character I liked a great deal when he would cross paths with Spider-Man.

In the end we get a fast paced ride that will introduce the final evolution of the Nightwatch suit, Warbringer. The answer as to who that is comes in the final issues and plays a key part in the plot. The story has corporate and governmental cabals all wanting there agendas met. There is a Satellite that is on a collision course with Manhattan. The series has a Time Bomb. It just is a neat story of one man’s curse at gaining incredible abilities and the responsibility he takes upon himself.

Some would say this was a weak series. I would say to each their own. I like the character. I like this series. Maybe it is something you can hunt for and have fun in seeking a long lost title.