Image has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts during their twentieth anniversary by releasing some pretty darn good new titles. "Danger Club" takes its place right alongside (and maybe a little behind) those new releases.
I had no idea what to expect from Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones with "Danger Club" #1 but I decided to give it a try after checking out the preview on CBR. The inside front cover tells you everything you need to know to begin this story and also allows the reader to slip into preconceived notions of what this series is going to be. I immediately equated it to a knock-off of "Young Justice" (the cartoon, not the comic) and was quickly proven wrong. Way wrong.
Eric Jones won me over from the start with a fun flashback-style recap/history page seemingly torn from a comic we haven't seen yet that leads into this story we hold in our hands. That page is two panels, drawn a little more cartoonishly by Jones and colored by Michael Drake to invoke the feel (and darn near smell) of an older comic recently rescued from its bagged and boarded prison. It also acts as a nice contrast to the hyper-detailed modern-day tale that follows.
Jones packs an astonishing amount of detail into this issue, including a panel that is wide across the spread and filled with individually drawn bricks. Jones' artwork flirts with a manga style, but retains the sensibilities of standard American comic pacing and storytelling, which is just as brilliant as the artist's knack for detail. No caption boxes are needed to help the action along, it's all right there in magnificent art with glorious colors from Drake. Power flares, rocket glares and crackling lightning beg to leap from the page, soaking into Jones' art and making "Danger Club" a thing of beauty.
We meet the Magician first and through him Kid Vigilante and (Jack) Fearless. Jones doesn't give the reader a complete rundown of the characters and their powers, but through the course of the adventure, we learn just what we need to know about them all and are introduced to Robot 9 and Yoshimi -- allies of the previously mentioned trio of heroes -- as well as their adversary Apollo, a hero with godlike power and charisma to match.
Walker fills the characters with brutal hypocrisy and drives "Danger Club" forward through violence, but manages to make the characters compelling for all their ruthless dedication to the cause of protecting the Earth in the stead of their missing mentors. The brutality the young "heroes" inflict upon their foes is stunning, yet becomes even more surprising by the end of the issue. Kid Vigilante lets loose as most heroes never will, but in doing so becomes a compelling character in an almost villainous sense.
"Danger Club" is certain to be heralded as a quirky blend of "Watchmen," "Young Justice," "Terror Titans" (yeah, "Terror Titans") and so many other comic stories. Unlike a simple blend or swipe of any of those other concepts, "Danger Club" just feels fresh and exciting. This series seems to be a collection of preconceived notions and traditional comic plots all mixed together for the sole purpose of being broken down and discarded in favor of something new, fun, and exciting. Given the recent track record of new Image titles, you really should give this a look-see. This just might be the book that scratches your comics itch.