Friday, February 25, 2011

Kolchak: The Night Stalker Files #2

Earlier this week I reviewed The Spider #1 for Robot 6, but it’s not the only recent Moonstone book I’ve read. Nor is it the only one that offered an encouraging introduction to a character I’ve heard a lot about, but don’t have much personal experience with.

I do know a bit more about Kolchak than I did about The Spider. I have vague memories of watching a TV movie or two as a kid and I’ve checked out a couple of stories in one anthology or another, but none of those have actually helped the character for me. On the contrary, they gave me the impression that Kolchak’s misfortune and demoralization are such integral parts of the concept that there’s no hope that he’ll ever achieve any kind of success. I at least need the illusion that a hero may succeed, so when failure becomes a built-in part of the concept, I lose interest.

Still, enough people whose tastes are otherwise similar to mine enjoy Kolchak, so I keep trying to find a hook to grab onto. One of those people is Christopher Mills, so it’s appropriate that he’s writing Moonstone’s new comic series, which looks to be just the handhold I’ve needed.

I don’t know what happened in Kolchak #1, but I don’t need to because the second issue starts a new story arc. In it, Kolchak has been fired from yet another newspaper, but is on his way to Miami where he’s been offered a new job with a tabloid. One of the problems I’ve had with Kolchak in the past is that in the stories I’ve read he insists on being taken seriously as an investigative journalist, when he’s in fact Jack McGee from The Incredible Hulk. It might be overstating things to say that he’s embraced his McGee-ness in Kolchak #2, but he’s at least come to terms with it and is apparently being rewarded for it. Being rewarded – in my admittedly, very limited perspective – is something that’s long overdue for this character and it’s allowing me to move past Kolchak’s haplessness and enjoy the rest of the concept: a rumpled, unlikely monster-hunter.

And for his first case, he’s looking for a Florida skunk ape (in spite of the cover, which – while cool – has nothing to do with anything in the book), so I’m totally into that too.

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