Danger Club Vol. 1: Death (Image Comics)

When the heroes are away, the sidekicks will play in this bloody, Irredeemable-esque tale of superpowers run amok.

 

 

102 pgs., full color, $9.99
(W: Landry Q. Walker; A: Eric Jones)
 
The world’s greatest heroes united under one banner to defeat a threat heading for Earth. Unfortunately, none of them came back. The only heroes left are the teenage sidekicks and most are lost without their mentors’ guiding hands. Rather than attempt to learn what happened to their adult counterparts or preparing for the threat the grown-ups presumably failed to defeat, the world’s sidekicks go wild. Some come under the banners of sidekicks-turned-villains like the egomaniacal Apollo. Only a few heroes under the command of Kid Vigilante seem willing to try to turn the world back to sanity, and their numbers are dwindling quickly.
 
My first impression of Danger Club was how much it reminded me of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable. And that’s a good thing. Like Waid’s book, Danger Club gives us a new but utterly recognizable world of superheroes and while the premise is unique it’s accessible enough to need very little exposition. Landry Walker (The Incredibles, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade) writes an intro explaining what’s going on with even fewer words than the opening paragraph of this review. Like Waid’s Superman-gone-mad scenario in Irredeemable, to those of us used to superhero comics, Walker’s notion of a world left to the sidekicks feels absolutely plausible and even familiar.
 
It’s a fast-paced story with an intricate plot that keeps you guessing. It makes you want more, but there are times when I wonder if it keeps you guessing a little too much. Walker gives us seemingly important scenes without letting us know why they’re so important. Yoshimi and Robot 9’s battle with a duo of giant robots—and later The Magician’s strange magical journey and its possibly tragic aftermath—are presented to us as if they have a great deal of weight in the plot, but we don’t know why. Presumably, Walker intends to give us the answers eventually. But the way the scenes are handled can breed more confusion than suspense. Rather than thinking, “Wow! I can’t wait to find out why they were fighting those robots,” you end up thinking, “Wait, now what the hell was that fight about anyway?” It feels more like a mistake than a tease.
 
The biggest trap Walker threatens to fall into is violence for violence’s sake. Danger Club is pretty damn bloody. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the violence, but the newness of these characters strips it of purpose. Since we hardly know the guys Walker’s snuffing out, there isn’t much of an emotional impact. The third chapter ends with the deaths of two sidekicks, but since they’re both characters created to live and die between the covers of a single issue, neither death stirs anything.
 
I’m undecided about how I feel about Eric Jones’s art, and I think there’s no getting around that it comes down to nothing more than personal preference. His art is dynamic and he has a great sense of perspective. He does a great job, but there’s just something that bothers me about his faces. They seem somehow too smooth or unfinished, though at the same time I can’t really blame him for that since it fits a comic filled with teenagers.
 
I want to keep an eye on Danger Club. It has flaws, but Walker has me curious about what’s going to happen next. It’s a big, bloody, and intriguing comic about hopeless underdogs trying to save the world from everything, including itself. | Mick Martin

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