Night Owl Society #1 Review
- Written by: James Venhaus
- Art by: Pius Bak
- Lettering by: Marshall Dillon
- Edited by: Bobby Curnow
- Published by: IDW Publishing
Night Owl Society got on my good side right away. It was the look, but it took me a little while to put my finger on it: Pius Bak is channeling David Aja. The Hawkeye comparison isn't to say it's that good - that's a lot to live up to - but it's an immediately familiar feeling, and the feel of the book fits: just slightly off from what you're probably expecting.
I especially wasn't expecting it to pull off one of my biggest pet peeves in comics: the last page twist. I'm not telling you what it is, though you'll probably figure it out before it's revealed; it builds up to that reveal well, coming right around the time you've put the pieces together. That helps, but that's not really the reason that it works.
It works because they don't slow the plot to a crawl to get there. This is a double length issue, so it could have especially slow and plodding, but they hit the ground running. We barely have time to figure out who David is or what he's doing, but the story is already going. We know just enough: a priest died, David knows there was something suspicious about it, and he's going through his school, trying to get students that want to help him avenge it.
A large part of the issue is him putting a team together, which the jock of the group interprets as putting together a superhero team, to which the answer is "almost, but not quite", which is essentially the tagline of the book. It's in the same vein, but not exactly like that; everyone is game for it (they're rich private school kids - an oversupply of time, money, and righteousness), and we don't waste time getting to know them. The character development happens on the run as they're getting ready for the big mission.
We also don't spend all our time with the kids. Their parts are kind of fun adventure with a tinge of darkness - we are talking about avenging a murdered priest - but there's another major character, presumably the crime boss who ordered his death. We follow him a lot in the story, seeing him be so casually awful that we don't need it to be graphic - it might be better that way, with just the idea sitting in your mind. Showing the actual death would be gratuitous; watching him casually tell someone to clean it is ominous.
I'm torn on this being a limited series. I want more than three issues, since I'm enjoying the story and characters so far, but I know it won't overstay its welcome. They can tell the story they're here to tell, and maybe there'll be another limited series down the line? Regardless, I liked this first issue, and it gives me confidence in the rest.