Children fighting to the death and generally beating each other to pulp has never been as popular as it is now. With Mark Millar wrapping up Kick-Ass 2, and The Hunger Games movie in theaters, under-age battles are fresh in the public’s mind. Danger Club #1 introduces readers to a new brand of teen violence with super-powered youths dropping one another like a bag of rocks. However, at the moments that Danger Club #1 risks being gratuitous, the comic pulls back and shows restraint. Yes, this comic is not lacking in viciousness and, yes, it is graphic. But, while comics like Kick-Ass use violence for shock and awe, Danger Club #1 uses it to punctuate an idea.
Beneath the veneer of super powers, Danger Club #1 is a comic about the loss of innocence. This series takes the idea of, if as children, we suddenly lose all authority, what will become of us? Danger Club #1 reads like Lord of The Flies, only with Meta humans. Before this issue even begins, writer Landry Q. Walker introduces us to the main plot all on the title page. There was a great danger that threatened the universe that the world’s superheroes went to fight; it has been three months and they have yet to return. The only people with powers left on Earth now are their kids and students. That is where Danger Club #1 begins. It is a powerful and succinct way to start a comic that does not slow down from there. Walker lines this issue with a sense of mystery that is never loud and always plays a background role. Buildings and cars lay crushed in city streets, yet Walker never explains why. The rest of this issue is an all out battle between two fighting factions. Again, it is jarring to see so much bloodshed among kids, but it is done with reason. Walker is introducing us to the fact that we now inhabit a world of brutality and the brashness of youth.
Tackling themes like the end of innocence in a scant 26 pages is not an easy task, yet Walker does it with skill. In a several page length fight sequence, Danger Club #1 lays the framework for what is to come. Every blood-spattered cape and crimson fist is a reminder that a war among children leaves no gray area. For an action comic, Walker takes on some serious themes and it would not be done so successfully without the artwork of Eric Jones. Every landed punch is felt, as Jones controls each page and panel with stunning composition. For an issue that is practically a 20-page fight scene, the art captures the subtler and mysterious aspects of Danger Club #1 that Walker and Jones are striving for.
Danger Club #1 works on two fundamental levels, each one unique to a specific brand of storytelling. The first being a genuinely fun, beautifully illustrated beat em up action story that is found so often in comics. The second level that Danger Club #1 hopes to portray is much deeper than just a violent comic. This comic asks a question that we all know exists, yet are rarely brave enough to confront. If there were no rules or authority to enforce them, what would we become? Few comics can juggle terrific action and such a high concept so well, but Danger Club #1 does, making it a magnificent debut issue.