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God of Comics – Night Owl Society #3

God Of Comics, Reviews

June 6, 2017

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.

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God of Comics: Night Owl Society #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

Night Owl Society #1 (IDW Publishing)

IDW Publishing has made a name for themselves by taking older properties and building upon them: Ghostbusters, TMNT, GI Joe, MASK, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, all their like. The truth is that all of them are good – all of them take every iteration of this properties and mash them up and take out the best bits and add new ones and make them better, but it’s rare for IDW to come up with something new.

By which I mean that IDW had very few in-house properties, but when they do decide to do something it tends to fucking rock. Locke & Key comes immediately to mind. This is something new, something unique, and it sounds like it’s going to be interesting.

David is one of those lonely kids, a misfit who doesn’t fit in – not at home and definitely not at school. He’s got very few people he legitimately cares about, so when one of them is killed by the local mob, David takes it personally. Now, in a better world, the police would deal with it… but the police are corrupt. Look at those cops arresting the people that showed up to talk to their politicians in Flint, or any of the murderers that kill unarmed citizens every few days for no real reason.

No, the police are not a problem for the wealthy, and crime pays when you’re running things. David’s friend was killed by an actual mob boss, the sort of person who pays politicians and sits on corporate boards and isn’t going to be given any hassle by the police. There’s no justice, and David is old enough to understand that and young enough to be angry about it, young enough to do something about it, young enough to take matters into his own hands.

The thing about marginalized peoples is that they find one another and form bonds stronger than anything outside of those groups could possibly understand. Their ties aren’t based on faux-oppression or similar likes but by a simple need to not die, and when one of them does die the others tend to react badly.

In David’s case, that means organizing his friends, figuring out what skills they have, and going after the mob on their own. The police won’t do it and the politicians are actual criminals themselves, so someone has to make good. Why not David? Why not his friends? All they have to do is make the world a better place and avoid getting killed… or grounded.

Hey, the kids are alright. JamesVenhaus is on writing duties and this is a weird one: he’s a playwright whose done some awesome stuff, most notably Ugly People (about running an electoral campaign) and Weird Sisters (which is Macbeth set in a modern high school where the students are studying the Scottish Play). His work is quirky dark comedy with soul, the sort of thing I keep hoping one of the local theater troupes will do (hint, hint). He’s a treasure, is what I’m saying, and if this comic brings more attention to his work that can only be for the best.

Pius Bak is on art duties and I feel that should sell the comic all by itself. This is the comic I’m most looking forward to this week.

Do not miss it.

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