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In the next installment of the not-so-ordinary teen drama, All Nighter #3 starts off with an extremely disappointing and anti-climactic opening but manages to have many strong exchanges between the characters through the mostly solid dialogue and the glances given towards one another. These simple glances carried me through this issue with a sense of awe, despite the opening and a few other quirks in the writing that would have been unbearable without every page of art taking the time to suck me in.
The story continues with our not-so-lovable teenager Kit, laughing in disbelief at her mousy roommate Martha, who has just told her that she’s her guardian angel. The party continues with Kit’s boyfriend Dwayne making trouble and possibly ruining her and Martha’s budding friendship. In her annoyance, Kit hangs out and bonds with her old flame Jim, leading to a kiss and secret courtship without the knowledge of Jim’s current girlfriend Donna, but leaving all the guilt.
Multi-tasking writer and artist, David Hahn’s All Nighter since the first issue has felt like a soap-opera, but a very good one. The characters have never been whiny, but the emotion has never been high, both in the story and towards the characters. This issue changes that. Kit, a previously unlikable protagonist that has mentioned having a hand in causing the death of her mother, is more sympathetic in this issue. Despite cheating with another girl’s boyfriend, she does regret her actions, more than you could say for many girls her age today. Her mother’s death is never even brought up until the end, with Kit seeming to mourn her and not mentioning her part in her death at all. Without having read previous issues, you would not know Kit had her mother killed. Having this fact in previous issues seems pointless and needs to result in an amazing reveal before the end of the series, otherwise her mother’s death just seems like an excuse to make the reader have no sympathies for Kit, which takes away her relatability (hopefully no teens can relate with a killer). All of Kit’s other actions have made her into a mostly relatable and realistic teenager.
Kit’s evolution has been much smoother than Martha’s. She is the key mystery of the series and the only thing other than the murder of Kit’s mother that is keeping the series from being a strictly teenage romance story. Both these elements, while great ways to bring readers in who do not just want a story about teen romance, at this point remain pointless. Just like Kit’s mother, the purpose of Martha’s character seems pointless and she is given odd dialogue that never makes sense. It backs up Kit’s opinion of her being a nut, but also makes the story hard to follow, with Martha spurting useless facts and opinions that we’re neither remembering nor caring about. The ending of the last issue, suggesting this issue could make or break the series when Martha tells Kit she is her guardian angel, is not answered but shrugged off. The beginning immediately makes the reader feel like after months of waiting, they have been rewarded by a simple copout. But the scene between Kit and Dwayne is one of many moments in the issue that makes up for it.
The conversation between Kit and Dwayne is fairly basic, having no real impact on the plot. But, showing how strong his artwork is, Hahn shows Dwayne’s expression when Kit is walking away, an expression full of regret that shows despite how much of a jerk he has been written as, Dwayne does care about Kit.
The next conversation, immediately after Dwayne and Kit’s spat, is between a pissed-off Kit and Jim. The dialogue is also very solid and has a huge impact on the story. It even makes the reader feel sympathetic for the previously unsympathetic Dwayne when Kit gets involved with Jim because of his regretful expression only a few pages ago that is still fresh in the reader’s mind.
This powerful expression is the best part of the issue. Most of David Hahn’s art in this issue focuses on characters’ facial expressions, which are always priceless and easy to interpret. These panels are very powerful, usually more so than the actual dialogue. The effect of lighting is also amazing considering the comic is in black-and-white. The light sources, like the lighting in the pools at the party, are bright and stand-out on the page, despite being slightly marred by the only slightly better than stick-figure people surrounding the pools. The only other time the characters were drawn poorly was one panel when Martha’s head becomes oddly enlarged making her look like a bobble head.
The rest of the artwork, with the emotions running wild on the pages, made the comic much stronger than it would have been without them. Martha’s purpose and Kit’s mother used to make the story interesting since it would have been reduced to unsympathetic characters and a still forming romance without those, but this issue does a complete 180. Kit’s interactions with Dwayne and Jim were great in this issue and Martha just made the issue confusing, while Kit’s mother had no impact on the plot in this issue, except by making Kit’s character even more sympathetic. Right now, the story is good, but Hahn needs to decide where it’s going, because at this point I’m even more lost than I was after the second issue. The air of mystery has quickly grown tiresome. It still feels like a better series for teenage girls, but has a little something to offer for everyone else.