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September 15, 2017

Baltimore Reviews… NIGHT OWL SOCIETY #1-3 – TPB

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I bought this book on a whim and I am so glad that I did. Billed as a mix of The Breakfast Club and Runaways and as “The Breakfast Club meets The Sopranos“, it delivers in ways I wasn’t even expecting. James Venhaus created this comic along with artist Pius Bak, and if you ever felt out of place in school or just wanted to stand up for the right thing, this 3 issue series is for you.

The first issue brings the strange group of misfits together as the leader each seeks out people who can help him achieve his goal of taking down the person responsible for Father Shawn’s death. The leader of the group, David, is quite fascinating in the fact that he shouldn’t be doing any of this. He has no fighting technique or strength, but it’s his vision that brings the Night Owl Society together to stop the local Dallas crime lord, The Viceroy. The teenagers go to a private school in Texas, and they must band together to uncover the mystery and right the wrongs. The personal stakes are very real and believable that you are conflicted when the twist comes.

Venhaus does an amazing job taking the stereotypical characters and making them real and not one note. They each have their own role to play in the story, but they also make an impact in their own right. Their relationships are refreshing and give a neat angle to their team up. I wish that we had an extra issue just so that we could spotlight some of the other characters a bit more, but you absolutely know who they are and how they would react. Which is equally exciting to see some preconceived notions turned upside down when they have to examine what being a hero really means. Or if they have it in them to completely stop The Viceroy.

The story has some really good twists and turns as the group of late night adventurers take on a seemingly impossible group of criminals and murderers.

Their quest to take down The Viceroy’s criminal empire takes them into the dark corners of the city and they each experience a change to their beliefs by the end of the book. The story is one you might know, but I guarantee that by the end of the first issue, you will be along for the bumpy ride.

One of the things I enjoyed most is that the comic takes place in Dallas, and as such, there are a lot of visual love and cues taken from the Big D. From Campisi’s to Reunion Tower, Venhaus gives us a proper Dallas adventure.

Pak’s artwork is quite striking as well. It’s dark, minimal and rough which really sells that these kids are in over their head in this quest. The artwork is grounded and the layout is smartly positioned to get the maximum impact with the story. I wasn’t prepared for how the story ends and am really hoping that we get to see a new volume as the book leaves each character in an interesting place that warrants further exploration.

Published by: IDW
Created & Written by: James Venhaus
Trade Paperback Released: August 15th

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