Midnight Vista #1 does not waste your time getting started. Taylor Esposito masterfully balances two different conversations happening on the page, which interrupt each other at the same time through a mix of captions and word balloons. He does this with clear delineations and interruptions primarily using excellent SFX. These first pages introduced us to the status quo, the way things were before the abduction. The issue itself only details the before and after following Oliver as a young child in a tumultuous home. We hear his mother loudly arguing with his father about joint custody. The child tries to distract himself with some TV, but it doesn’t seem to be working. His mom’s new boyfriend offers to take him out for ice cream, which helps Oliver forget for a little while. They never made it home, at least, not until 2019. Eliot Rahal and Clara Meath choose to use most of this issue to describe the before and immediate aftermath as a way of setting the stage.
Meath and Englert are an amazing art team. It’s always nice to see an artist get a co-creator credit, which usually means the writer acknowledged the truly collaborative nature of the comics medium. The angles and line work definitely appear to have some Manga influences, which work really well when conveying expressions during moments of heightened action. Oliver’s face when waking up from his dream in the hospital is truly the most terrifying panel in the issue thanks to an excellent use of light and shading. Englert’s colors are a marvelous balance of a vibrant neon palette with a more natural saturated palette. The colors really help balance the outlandish alien concept with the small town Arizona setting.
The art and layout of the issue goes a long way towards defining the tone for the comic. There are plenty of scenes that could have been bogged down with a sad or scary tone, but instead, Meath uses a variety of angles and dynamic panel structures to lay out a more enjoyable, lighthearted sense of suspense than fear or melancholy. Oliver just landed back on Earth. It would be completely reasonable if he was traumatized or afraid or angry or confused, but he doesn’t seem to be that way. He’s just naked. Even when he gets hit by a car, it doesn’t feel sad and you don’t feel worried, you may laugh and feel bad for doing so. It’s more a state of shock and surprise than anything else. Alien abductions have always been this horrifying relayed experience, but Rahal, Meath, Englert, and Esposito prove that it doesn’t have to be. There’s a glorious scene bathed in bright neon pinks, purples, and reds with Oliver on the operating table literally getting dissected and probed by aliens. He’s freaking out, and rightfully so because he’s awake but not feeling any of this, and you, the reader, don’t really feel a deep sense of fear or dread. It’s more that you’re taken aback with a sense of shock and disgust. If something stands out to you, it should be the unique tone this books seems to be trying to set. This comic is “scary” in the same way that Invasion of the Body Snatchers was scary in 1956. Basically, it just means that now it’s a ton of fun.
Midnight Vista #1 is strongly reminiscent of a radio or TV program you may have heard from the 1960s. It’s cheesy and a little scary, but mostly a lot of fun. Rahal, Meath, Englert, and Esposito get you to feel for Oliver almost immediately, so that when he returns years later, you already care about what happened to him. It’s a great example about how a classic trope like being abducted by aliens can be updated, given a fun new twist, and still be presented to readers in an entertaining way. This series looks to be a fun sci-fi adventure that anyone can enjoy. With Midnight Vista #1, enjoy a brighter, more optimistic story about alien abduction filled with heart, character, mystery, and adventure.