|First appearance||The Strangers" #1 (as Johnny Domino); "The Night Man" # 1 (as Night Man)|
|Created by||Steve Englehart|
|Alter ego||Johnny Domino (legally changed from John E. Domingo)|
Mask granted infrared vision
Night Man is depicted as an ordinary person, Johnny Domino, who acquires supernatural powers after a sequence of events involving an alien starship crashing on the Moon. Domino subsequently uses his abilities to fight crime.
Glen A. Larson developed a live-action television series based on the character, starring Matt McColm as Johnny Domino, that aired in syndication from September 15, 1997 to May 17, 1999. Night Man's creator, Steve Englehart, wrote three episodes for the show.
Origin story and plot summary
Domino's father is Edward Domingo, a former police officer turned security guard at a San Francisco Coney Island-type amusement park called "Playland", based upon the real-life Playland. At the beginning of the series, Johnny Domino (formerly Domingo) works as a saxophonist in San Francisco; he has shortened his (legal) name to be more catchy.
When Domino is driving, his vehicle is struck by a cable car that had been hit by a burst of energy known as a "jumpstart". The jumpstart energy is later revealed as originating from The Entity, an alien starship which crashed on the Moon. A piece of shrapnel from the collision becomes embedded in Domino's head, and he "jumpstarts" into Night Man, able to hear evil thoughts, see in the dark and never sleep. (The passengers of the cable car also jumpstart; some go on to form The Strangers.) Domino makes a costume and equipment out of makeshift items from hardware stores and the like, plus a kevlar vest his father lent him.
He uses a grappling hook and rope to swing about the city and fight crime, in addition to a used motorcycle he bought in the first issue as a means to transport himself quickly. His weapons of choice are a gun and taser to fight crime, though he refuses to use the gun except for last-resort, nonlethal shots.
During the series, Night Man meets and befriends the Freex, a group of super-powered teenagers on the run. In addition to dealing with his own problems, Night Man promises to watch out for them. Unfortunately he must deal with the death of one of the team, Plug, murdered by the Ultra-killer Rafferty.
Rather than standard crime-fighting, Night Man's efforts increasingly bent towards corporate espionage in an environment of moral ambiguity. Night Man plots typically became segments of the larger storylines of core Marvel characters, such as Loki.
A double of Night Man allies with one of his enemies in a cannibalistic ritual to gain Celtic magical powers. During Black September, the original Night Man is transported to the Marvel Universe while the double resumes the original's life. Steve Englehart planned to subsequently write two monthly Night Man comics, one centered on the magick Night Man taking place in the Ultraverse, and the other centered on the original Night Man in the Marvel Universe. However, Englehart's creative differences with Marvel caused Englehart to leave what was left of Malibu Comics.
Differences with TV show character
- In the original books, Domino's father is named "Edward Domingo"; in the TV show, it is "Frank Dominus."
- In the books, Domino uses a grappling hook and rope to swing about San Francisco; in the TV show, he can fly.
Appearances in other media
Night Man guest starred in the episode "Night and the Night Man" of Ultraforce animated series. The character's origin is the same, but instead of the face-stealing serial killer Deathmask being the cause of Johnny Domino's becoming Night Man, a completely new villain is. Chrysalis, a mutated insect who takes the form of whomever it captures in a chrysalis, targets local businessman Roger Tremain, believing itself to be his stepdaughter, Elly. During a fight with Chrysalis, Johnny is teleported to UltraForce’s headquarters, where Contrary attempts to recruit him onto the team. However, Johnny turns them down, due to Contrary being more focused on another case. But he does take up her idea about a "career change", and creates the alter ego of Night Man to battle Chrysalis. In the episode's climax, as Chrysalis takes Hardcase's form, Night Man battles Chrysalis and Chrysalis hits a tower, which electrocutes it and frees its victims. Chrysalis is defeated, but manages to escape, while its victims are released, and Elly, having learned about her stepfather’s cruelty through some sort of psychic link Chrysalis had with its victims, takes over her mother's company from him.
- The Solution #13 (Oct. 1, 1994)
- Night Man #22 (July 1995)
- "Night Man" 1 Vol. 2 (October 1995)
- Engelhart's official website