Night Owl Society #3 (IDW Publishing)
I didn’t realize this was only going to be three issues, but that’s what happens when you have a writer like James Venhaus – he sets up a beginning, middle, and an end for his story. He knows where this is going and knows exactly how long it’s going to take and I wish I’d known because that second issue? That second issue was amazing.
There’s no time here for padding. Everything in this story is meat, the characters moving along as at a brisk pace as they learn about the grim realities of their world.
Our main character is David, a kid going to high school who is mourning the murder of his priest. He’s a good kid with a good upper-middle class family and strong ethics who wants revenge on the man that murdered his priest, the crime lord that runs the city from the shadows and is known as the Viceroy.
He knows he can’t do this on his own so he’s recruited from his school – anyone and everyone that can be useful, some kids that get how dangerous what they’re doing is and more that don’t. David’s used their skills to damage Viceroy’s supply chain, hurting his infrastructure and drawing him out of hiding.
And this is where things get interesting: the end of the first issue reveals that Viceroy is David’s father. During the second, David’s allies find out about this connection and walk away, not wanting to become involved in whatever this is, and then we find out something even worse. See, it turns out that Viceroy knows that David is causing him problems and he’s called his son in for a talk.
Not sure if you can tell from the banner art, but the cover is David’s allies standing over a grave at a funeral. The implication is clear – they’ve either let their friend die or become a murderer. Either outcome is not going to work out well for them.
I mentioned before about the writing styles of James Venhaus and wondered if his quirky dark comedy would work here, and it most assuredly does. You can see echoes of his previous work as a playwright in how the story is structured and revealed, and this would make a good stage play to go along with his other stuff (Ugly People and Weird Sisters, both of which I still need to see performed live).
Pius Bak’s artwork illustrates perfectly the emotional mess of everyone present and the underlying decay all of them are experiencing, both in their personal lives and as regards to the world around them. The sad truth is David’s heroism is a desperate cry in a world that does not care, though that does not make it futile.
The end is coming, and one way or another we’ll see the effect David’s actions have on the entropy that has claimed the soul of his generation and his town. Believe you me, though, this climax will be worth the build.