Writers: DeWayne Feenstra and Ray-Anthony Height
Artist: Ray-Anthony Height
Published by: Action Lab Comics
Synopsis: Gavin Shaw is more or less your typical American teen; snarky and intelligent if a little unfocused. After a series of attacks by super-powered humans, Gavin himself is assaulted and in the aftermath finds himself one of the few gifted with superpowers. Assuming the alias Midnight Tiger, he takes to the streets to rid his city of crime.
The comparisons to the Black Panther are inevitable, so I’ll try to get them out of the way early. Shaw is smart, brilliant actually; he types up a Music Theory essay on the same night in which he earlier kicked much criminal butt. So like T’Challa he’s not only a proficient fighter, but a thinking man as well. Therein lie the possibility for some fairly complex conflicts, both internally and externally. How does the intelligent hero effectively use his gifts to maximum utility? It’ll be interesting to see how the creative team frames Shaw’s mix of brain and brawn as the series progresses.
Also like the Black Panther, Shaw has a mentor/father figure like T’Chaka to look up to and help him deal with life issues in Robert Frank Shaw, a city fireman. A single father, the elder Shaw provides a moral compass for his son, a much needed guide for one with so much potential. Though it’s not been revealed yet, you can almost rest assured that MT’s father has more than anecdotal advice for his burgeoning superhero son.
Most of the appeal of the book comes from the complex relationships that Gavin has with not only his peers, but his city in general. He states explicitly and seems to understand on a subconscious level more so, that things aren’t as they should, or perhaps more appropriately could, be and he wrestles with that disconnect throughout his interactions.
Now, after all of that praise, I must warn you, some of the dialogue borders on stereotype, in conjunction with the obligatory threat of urban street gangs that Gavin has to avoid on a day to day basis. It’s a tried and true method for delivering minority characters to the masses, so I can’t fault Feenstra and Height for taking that approach. Hopefully,however, as the Tiger matures, so will the book and we’ll get to see our hero move away from the cliché into more adventurous territory.
By Adam Cadmon
Follow Adam on Twitter: @K1NG_OF_J4CKS