Friday, June 15, 2018

Review - By Night #1 (@boomstudios)


"She totally made me forget to go for dinner."

The thing about home towns is that they become such a part of your life that it's hard to forget about them. Visiting or moving back to them brings with it plenty of old memories and friends. In By Night #1 From BOOM! Box, those old memories and friends collide. The issue is written by John Allison, illustrated by Christine Larsen, colored by Sarah Stern and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Aspiring documentarian (and actual Chemistry major) Jane has recently reunited with her former best friend Heather, amateur urban explorer. When a trip into an abandoned industrial building leads them to another world, their plan begins to unfold: create a documentary about the world and become filthy, filthy rich. The other side of the portal is filled with monsters, magic and a chance for a whole new life. All they have to do is step through...

Allison's new miniseries has a lot of the same beats that his other works (such as Giant Days) have, primarily in the intelligent and sharp dialogue exchanges. Jane is characterized as an extremely intelligent scientist looking to move on from parts of her past; a task that's made more difficult by the appearance of her former best friend Heather. Heather is really what drives the story as she's insistent on exploring an abandoned factory in their hometown. Allison uses her as a constant push on Jane, convincing her to take each successive step in their urban exploration that leads them further than intended. Allison doesn't really explain why someone as savvy as Jane would be willing to do something pretty reckless and illegal, although it's likely that her curiosity is just getting the best of her.

The script could be perceived as even more intense with different artwork, but Larsen does a fantastic job of keeping things lighthearted. Both Jane and Heather are depicted as young enough to have been through college and fresh in their post-collegiate lives, helping to infuse that tone into the work. Larsen provides plenty of emotion in their facial expressions despite the simplicity of her style. And characters are the focus in all the panels as Larsen uses very focused perspectives on the players to ensure the reader knows what's going on. Stern's colors are pretty simple throughout; their basic nature don't really allow much in the way of gradation.

By Night #1 is an apt title for a book about revisiting the past. Jane and Heather are somewhat estranged friends looking rekindle their connection through the exploration of a childhood staple. Allison's script is well-paced and efficient, giving the issue a set-up feel for events to come. Larsen's illustrations are a great fit tonally and afford the book some flexibility in its appeal. By Night #1 offers a pretty lighthearted story that looks to be getting a lot crazier as the series unfolds.

By Night #1 is available now.

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