I really like the DC Comics Presents format, yet this is only the second one I’ve bought. The price took me by surprise when I bought the first, but when one considers the cost of today’s comics ($3 or $4 apiece), $8 for four issues of content is not a bad deal! I remember when Night Force first came out in 1982, but I didn’t know anything about it until I read the solicitation for the DCCP reprint a few months ago. To my surprise, it was written and drawn by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan (respectively), the same team responsible for so many issues of Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula. That would have meant anything to me then, but in this world of DC Showcases and Marvel Essentials I’ve had the opportunity to read quite a few of them.

Unfortunately, this story of a team of paranormal investigators takes a while to get going. I wouldn’t have liked it in 1982, but read in a single sitting this past weekend, put me in a better place to appreciate its merits. It started to gel about midway through and I wouldn’t mind reading further adventures of this team going forward. [Actually, a qick Google search reveals this series was revived for 12 issues in DC’s “Weirdoverse” (whatever that is).] This series seems like an odd one to reprint. I wonder why it was chosen…?

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I wouldn't be surprised if Night Force didn't eventually show up with the resurgence of Swamp Thing. DC seems to want to assert itself in that direction again. Couple that with Gene Colan's recent health & personal problems, and I can see someone at DC thinking it'd be a good idea to reprint this series sooner rather than later, when the royalties can do him some good. (Incidentally, a reprint of the complete Wolfman/Colan series is in the works). 

 

I really liked this book back when it first came out. I was a little tepid on the revival (the Weirdoverse also featured Scare Tactics and a revival of Challengers of the Unknown, and probably a fourth book I'm forgetting), though it wasn't bad by any means. 

 

Does the DCCP book end on a cliffhanger? I seem to recall the first storyline lasting 7 issues or so. 

 

If DC is reprinting Night Force to get Gene Colon some royalties, bless 'em, though I would rather see Nathaniel Dusk or Silverblade. I'm getting it to see how well it aged or if my opinion of it will change. I remember looking forward to it because of Wolfman & Colon's Tomb of Dracula and being a bit disappointed. The art was superb, vintage Colon and the story was suspenseful but the characters were unlikeable.

Baron Winters was not a good focal point since he could never leave his mansion. Also he was smug, cryptic and vain. I can't recall exactly why but I felt that he was supposed to resemble Barnaby Collins from Dark Shadows, though some of you guys would know far more about that than me! Perhaps he was to be more like a DC Doctor Strange since Secret Defenders rip-offed had the same idea of gathering different people for different missions.

I remember it as a sad book, not in a snarky sense, but that no one who appeared in it cast-wise left happily! One guy was saddled with a wife he did not love yet could not leave and another lost an arm and a leg, literally!

Yeah, it was a grim, grim, grim book.

But you're only half-right that Baron Winters couldn't leave his house -- he couldn't leave his house in the present time. He could choose to walk out of his house into the past, however.

Personally, I *love* Baron Winters -- he's one of my favorite underused DCU characters. I'd love to see his Night Force working at cross-purposes with the Birds of Prey. With the Calculator, we've seen how Oracle handles her opposite number on the good-evil spectrum -- lets see how she handles her opposite number on the axis of science and magic!

That's really a good idea, Rob! I know that Baron Winters was in Swamp Thing #49-50 and Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1. It seems there was a second Night Force series but has he appeared recently?

BTW, IIRC Night Force was originally going to be called Challengers but DC nixed it in case they ever do come up with a brilliant premise for the Challengers of the Unknown!

Thanks!

To my knowledge, the Baron hasn't appeared since Seven Soldiers -- but I hope that'll be changing soon.

Issue #4 doesn’t end on a cliffhanger per se, but it does set up issue 35 (which was to have gone on sale September 15, BTW). The original series lasted 14 issues. I didn’t realize that until just now. Maybe I’ll seek those out. I remember the Challengers book from the Weirdoverse, but not the other two. I recall Baron Winters in his other appearances, although I have read some of them.

I didn’t like Gene Colan’s work when I was a kid. The two Nathanial Dusk series (rendered in unlinked pencils) are the ones that really turned me on to his work. I didn’t buy Silverblade when it was new, but I picked it up many years later (many years ago) at a quarter sale. I still haven’t read it, though. Same thing with Jemm, Son of Saturn (which I almost read when Jemm was being featured in Martian Manhunter a few years ago).

Did they ever collect Jemm, Son of Saturn? They made an action figure of him!

For someone who drew so many super-heroes, Gene Colan never seemed 100% right for it. On Batman and Daredevil, he was great because, despite all their trappings and personas, they were just men. Even Iron Man fits because he was just a guy in a metal suit. He did some issues of The Avengers and it didn't work, at least not for me. I doubt that he would have been comfortable drawing Spider-Man or the Fanrastic Four, IMO.

That being said, I really liked The Phantom Zone mini. Maybe because it dealt with mostly a non-super Superman!

Did they ever collect Jemm, Son of Saturn?

Not that I know of.

That being said, I really liked The Phantom Zone mini.

Another series I own yet have never read.

The thing about Colan is he's hard to ink and, especially, hard to color. A lot of his stuff looks better in b&w.

Philip Portelli said: "He did some issues of The Avengers and it didn't work, at least not for me. I doubt that he would have been comfortable drawing Spider-Man or the Fanrastic Four, IMO."

 

Colan was best with mood and mystery. He was perfect for DD, Dr. Strange, Dracula and even the foreign intrigue of Iron Man. He wasn't suited too well for the sunny, larger-than-life superheroics of Avengers, and he would have been totally miscast on FF. (One writer described writing a comic book for Gene and turning it into sort of a Colan's greatest hits: graveyards, rain, fog, montages, and close-ups of hands on door knobs.)

 

He was also good with humor, on Howard the Duck and a late-career stint at Archie.

 

I'm glad to see "Night Force" being reprinted, although I have the original issues. I thought it was flawed but had great potential. Too bad DC strangled it after about 14 issues.

This was actually part of the deal that gave the world Wolfman and Perez on Teen Titans - Gene Colan was drawing Wonder Woman at the time, and when Wolfman came over to DC he specifically asked for Gene to work with him on another horror/mystery title.  Baron Monday is still around - he played a key role in the Seven Soldiers Zatanna mini...

 

As for Nathaniel Dusk and Silverblade - I'd but those in a nanosecond.  The former was shot directly from Colan's pencils, while the latter was Steve Englehart cutting loose in Hollywood, and had a few neat twists in it.  One fun bit of that was the story revolved around a faded movie actor who was reliving his greatest role - in a movie called The Black Swan...

"Jemm, Son of Saturn" had some of Colan's best DC art of the '80s, although the story was too reminiscent of "E.T." for comfort. It's been ages since I've read it, but my memory is that the major change was an urban setting (instead of the middle-class Spielbergian suburbs).
Baron Winters does seem like a very under-used character. He should be a DCU go-to guy a la Dr. Strange in the Marvel U.

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