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Danger Club’s premise must have intrigued everyone (including myself) into trying out the debut issue since it was a sell-out. But is it worth that status, or does the exceptional premise’s pages harbor disappointment? With so many hard-to-find elements like intriguing (but not yet in-depth) characters, silent artwork, and a unique premise, Danger Club #1 proves it is not a disappointment, but the beginning of a violent teen-hero tale that could become a worthy companion to series like Kick Ass.
Emphasis on could become.
A minor problem is the characters. There are a ton running around. But none of the characters have any depth or established personalities. Many of them also allude to their powers while I would just prefer to see them in action. There is the exception of two great main characters: Apollo and Kid Vigilante. Though both of their characters can be linked back to comic book greats Apollo and Jason Todd, a.k.a. the Red Hood. However, they have those characterizations done so well that they also take their enjoy ability, make them fun to watch, if not original.
After the heroes left, Apollo tries to lead the sidekicks and urges them to join him and either become part of his elite or not – and he will even offer you his love and protection. The narcissistic “bastard,” as Kid Vigilante calls him, has the most intriguing dialogue. Apollo’s faulty messiah-like message is my favorite part of this issue.
But let’s talk about our more clear-cut protagonist.
While Apollo seems a lot like the clone of the Watchmen character of the same name, Kid Vigilante looks a lot like Nightwing – but has an attitude like Red Hood. He rallies the troops as well, but in a more heroic way (if you disregard the bloodshed). But that’s what makes him compelling – he clearly is trying to help but will go to extreme lengths to do it. And with his obvious intellect he could succeed in many endeavors. He and Apollo share a quality that is great and unsurprising to see. Both try to act like adults, but they are still children. They still have a childishness about them, but they both go their own ways about to help others when the adult heroes are no longer around. This was an effective and well-used tactic.
The only big problem keeping this from a perfect issue is all of the mentions to the past made by the characters, whether it be a reference to a similar happening in a different part of town or the hospitalization of team members we’ve never seen before save for the first page. I felt lost in this issue at times with all these references despite this issue having no predecessor. Even if they are fully explained in future issues, there are so many references it’s head-spinning.
Another thing that is head-spinning, but in a more positive way, are the action scenes. Multiple battles go on at one time in this issue. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on, but it does give the fight a great chaotic feel. This is added by the fact that there is no dialogue to give each battle it’s own ongoing context. This chaotic feel culminates into a single page with a jolting conclusion to the fight that you can feel hurt (despite the speed lines marring the background).
This jolting moment is also silent, a strikingly effective tactic used multiple times throughout this issue. With most comics that do this, there is an obvious complaint I love to harp on: these silent scenes are taking time away from the writer’s to expand on their story. But Danger Club teeters away from that line, and will only cross over it if the series as a whole continues to use the excessive amount of silent moments that this issue does. However, each moment is moving the action forward and the quiet makes the events all the more impactful. I would love to see the tactic reused in the final climactic issue of the series as long as it is not abused throughout the rest of the series.
The artwork during these silent moments is really the most obvious trend-setter of the issue. Eric Jones work is unique and while it could rub some comic book fans the wrong way by making the characters very anime-like with bulging eyes full of emotion and some oddly proportioned bodies, the style is unique even if it’s animated quality gives it a more cartoonish look that can take away from the seriousness of the moment – but then we all know the blood anime can have, and Danger Club takes part with a very bloodied Kid Vigilante. The series definitely isn’t for younger audiences, but the Kick-Ass and Nemesis lovers.
Past the animated figures, Jones always has a captivating landscape when he is not spamming speed-lines effectively in the background to purposely focus on the characters. There are multiple settings, and all are given bits of detail. This, combined with the character, leads to effective artwork interwoven with an interestingly developing story and characters.
It’s hard to see what will come after this issue. Will the past event that keep being foreshadowed to us by the character be fully explored along with the characters powers and personalities? This is still a powerful first issue in that it has the reader asking a ton of questions and intrigued enough with the with the ‘Why?’ to buy the next issue, and that’s what a first issue should do – even if it also has a bunch of confusion in it’s wake.