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Danger Club #5 [Advance Review]
Danger Club #5 (Image): It’s the long-awaited return of one of my favorite new series, the delay apparently due to some extenuating family medical drama experienced by one of the creative team, so be kind with your heckles. Within just a handful of issues, Danger Club has become a real contender for best deconstruction of the flawed superhero paradigm, a tradition I'm quite fond of. Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones have taken their knowledge of familiar archetypes and ripped them limb from limb as they subvert the common storytelling tropes associated with the industry’s most prevalent genre. If you could imagine these events happening to, say, Cap, Bucky, and Robin, you suddenly realize how chilling it all is. As one generation of heroes mysteriously disappears to face a cosmic threat, their younger protégés scatter to the wind, some in hiding, some killed, some turned villain themselves. The iconic patriotic hero of this world, American Spirit, becomes the aged First President of the Global Unites States and has essentially turned into the very thing he originally vowed to fight against. Fallibility has always been the real-world human tendency that would make super-powers dangerous and that misguided power dynamic has certainly infected the soul, as American Spirit’s Presidency has resulted in a fascist dictatorship in the name of building a perfect utopia to remake reality without any heroes, villains, or anyone else who would oppose him. The small band of sidekicks that’s risen up against overwhelming odds is here executing a secret plan, with American Spirit and his former teen sidekick Jack Fearless coming face to face. Mild spoilers, I suppose, but the stakes are incredibly high for both Kid Vigilante and Jack Fearless. The denouement of this issue involves a fantastic last gambit “malignant apocalypse” code word that just might counter the President’s machinations. In the process, Walker opens up some exciting and limitless possibilities for the future of the series. Eric Jones' fast-paced violent aesthetic is so strong on so many fronts, both stylish and technical. He’s able to continue the retro flashback intro pages that condense mass amounts of characterization and world-building into just one page. There’s a disturbing level of detail everywhere, in the President’s Palpatine facial qualities, the copious amounts of blood flying around the page, and the way the art works at every figure scale and bears the same crystal clear quality in the fore and backgrounds. I know that Walker is from the SF Bay Area, maybe Jones is too, and I couldn’t help feeling like that glorious shot of the large hangar was homage to a similar one that exists at Moffett Field, which I used to pass weekly on my way from my job at Cisco to Lee’s Comics in Mountain View, CA. Anyway, leave it to Image Comics to be the home of the wildest new indie universe and one of the boldest new properties. Of course, I hope the delays with the title are over so it can once again gain some traction and force readers to take note, but truth be told, it’s one of the very few comics worth the wait. Grade A.