To say Danger Club is a breath of fresh air would be an understatement. Ever since Mark Millar’s ‘Kick Ass’ dropped back in 2008, a cavalcade of creator owned series have all emerged trying desperately to be more shocking. For the most part, it hasn’t been a pretty sight as so-called ‘mature’ titles, ironically most of which are written by Millar himself, flood the stands with childish innuendo, over the top gore and more ‘f bombs’ then you can poke a stick at. What we are promised will be the ‘next kick ass’ or ‘Post-kick-ass’ are almost always just variations on a familiar theme, usually revolving around morally bankrupt superheroes who swear far too much. So for me to claim that ‘Danger Club’ is truly post ‘Kick Ass’ isno small call, but one I am willing to make none the less.
‘Danger Club’ takes place in a world where all the veteran superheroes have suddenly disappeared, leaving their former sidekicks to fend for themselves. In what turns out to be a setting very reminiscent of Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, the world soon falls into disarray as the heroes and sidekicks left behind fall to infighting. That is, until the kid vigilante and his gang of loyal super friends come to set things straight and unite the remaining sidekicks against a more looming threat.
Apart from being proclaimed as the ‘World’s smartest teen’ Kid vigilante possess no super powers and is almost a carbon copy of Robin in both costume and fighting style. His other companions such as kid magician, Apollo, Jack fearless and Yoshimi all contain strong elements of superheroes from other comic universes. In addition to borrowing from other superhero titles, the book also presents some very cool original ideas such as a futuristic ‘micro-Tokyo’ protected by its guardian ‘Giagantobots’. And yes, this does mean all the Japanese people of the ‘Danger Club’ world are the size of mice giving the term ‘ I’m big in Japan’ a new lease on life!
‘Danger Club Volume one: Death’ collects issues 1-4 of Walker and Jones’ ground breaking series. Unlike so many creator owned ‘superhero’ titles before it, ‘Danger club’ embraces the genre instead of trying to subvert it. The name alone is a throwback to comics of the 50’ and 60’s and the fake–vintage comic book page opening each issue shows this comic is not afraid to honour its heritage.
Eric Jones’ art is an odd mix of serious and comical throughout the comic. Initially his art style comes across as almost ‘cutesy’ with a lot of the female characters featuring big wet eyes, and a great deal of the characters wouldn’t look out-of-place in a Disney animation. That said, Jones is not afraid to get gritty when he needs to and scenes such as Kid Vigilante punching a demigod senseless with magic knuckle dusters have the same impact as any of John Romita’s work from Kick Ass.