Grim_Noir Pulls An All-Nighter With The Night Owl Society

 

Night Owl Society Cover

Title: Night Owl Society Trade Paperback

Writer: James Venhaus

Art: Pius Bak

Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Editor: Bobby Curnow

Published by IDW Publishing

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Between the aphorism “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and the proverb “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,” there lies the Night Owl Society.

High schooler David is mostly non-descript. He’s not a jock, nor a geek. He’s neither handsome nor conventionally ugly. Neither quiet nor loud, he’s neither the dumbest kid in class nor the smartest, but he does have a talent for thinking outside the box. People tend to forget he is in class with them. What makes David unique is that he knows who killed the school chaplain, Father Shawn. More importantly, he intends to take righteous revenge on the culprit.

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Unassuming David has a plan to punish the murderous druglord who calls himself “The Viceroy.” For David to accomplish his plan, he will assemble a teenaged team of specialists from among his classmates: The gentle jock, A.J., who wants to be a superhero; the computer geek Darsh; the “Wednesday Addams” of St. Cuthbert’s, Laura (known to get herself sentenced to detention simply so she can steal from the chemistry lab), and A.J.’s girlfriend, the military brat Sarah. (Think The Breakfast Club trying to take on Heisenberg)

But David is withholding information from his team. Information that could get someone killed, or blow up in his face, or both.

The names behind this book may not be familiar to anyone. That’s because the duo are newcomers to the field of comics. Artist Pius Bak came from the world of Commercial and Graphic Illustration. Then again, so did Mike Mignola, when he started out. Bak’s style is painterly on his covers, but struggles to portray expressions in the panels. But that may just be my personal reaction. The ink-and-watercolor look of his work is very stylish and his panel layout on the page is extremely dynamic.

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The emotional heavy-lifting of this book is left to playwright-turned-comic-book-author James Venhaus, who is more than up to the task. His plot zooms along like a Tarantino script and his dialogue sings like a choir full of quotable Mamet lines. This is one of those books where the writing drives everything like a heartbeat driving blood through arteries.

Night Owl Society began as a Kickstarter in 2013 before finding a home at IDW. The book snuck past most people as three single floppy issues, this past Spring. It was under-marketed, underordered, and ultimately underappreciated. Depending on where you lived, it was difficult to find on the racks. Thankfully, the publisher is releasing it now as a collected trade paperback so it can be devoured in one sitting. And, trust me, you will zip through it and beg for more.

Night Owl Society Cover 3

 

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination (which may or may not have been created by Synergy). Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Good Reads or Facebook to end his self-delusions.

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