Script: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Eric Jones
Colors: Michael “Rusty” Drake with assists from Derek Hunter
Letters and Logos: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Bentacourt
Edited by: Branwyn Bigglestone
Publisher: Image Comics
Danger Club is the latest title from Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones, the team that brought us Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, a series that bear little resemblance to their newest work. It’s not a bad thing, mind you, I just want to establish that the subject matter is a bit more mature and the stakes are higher.
In Danger Club, the world’s heroes have mysteriously vanished, leaving behind a small group of sidekicks and partners, children all. With their mentors gone, the young heroes must step up to save the world from the darkness that is coming. The former sidekicks-turned heroes in their own right are a pastiche of archetypes familiar to anyone who’s read comics before.
In this issue, Kid Vigilante, reluctantly partnered with his former foe Ladybug, returns to the underground lair he shared with his father, the Red Vengeance, to retrieve a memory stick that will prove vital their to their mission to save the world. Along the way, he has a tearful reunion with his brother, the former Kid Victory…and that’s all I can say about that without ruining the story, but I can promise you that it’s a touching moment. You’ll know it when you see it.
Meanwhile, In Micro-Tokyo, Yoshimi Onomoto finds herself under attack by two Gigantobots for daring to defy the status quo. She counters with a giant robot of her own and kicks some major ass, and we see that Micro-Tokyo lives up to its name.
Unfortunately, at some undetermined point in the future, the President of the Global United States, a former hero in his own right known as the American Spirit, declares war on these rebellious teens, and makes an example of Kid Vengeance by having him shot in the head.
I was intrigued by the super-hero world presented in this story. It’s complete with urban crime-fighting vigilantes, former patriotic heroes, miniaturized cities, and giant robots. All in all, a very Silver Age setting, but with a twist: the darkness has come, and harsh reality crashed into this world. The heroes are gone, and everyone else must step up to save the day. For all their fancy toys and super-powers, the teen heroes are incredibly real, and you feel the grief Kid Vigilante experiences as he makes what must be the most difficult decision of his young life.
Many of the characters in this issue are homage of pre-existing ones. Kid Vengeance is a thinly-veiled boy wonder, whose “father” is a costumed crime-fighter with a hidden lair underneath their mansion, complete with a robotic dinosaur and trophy case. Insectra and Ladybug bring to mind a feline femme fatale. The American Spirit fought the Nazis during World War II, only to grow old and embittered even as he became President, a fate averted by a certain star-spangled Avenger. And Onomoto is inspired by mecha from manga, anime and role-playing games.
For the most part, Walker and Jones make this issue as “new reader friendly” as possible, with the introductory recap and dialogue catching us up to speed. The one thing that bothered me was the Yoshimi Onomoto scenes in Micro-Tokyo. As entertaining as they were, with giant robots beating the tar out of one another, it felt like an obligatory action sequence to balance out the Kid Vigilante/Ladybug expository scenes. A small issue, but one that bothered me nonetheless.
The best thing I can say about this issue is that I think I need to search for Danger Club #1, and explore this world a little bit more. You should too.