“Nightworld #1” is a zany, nostalgic romp that is gorgeously illustrated by Paolo Leandri and brilliantly written by Adam McGovern. This isn’t the kind of series that is going to do massive sales numbers, but it should please those that have gone out of their way to read it. It’s the kind of pulpy, Kirby-esque, humour-infused horror tale that comes around every once and awhile and manages to set itself apart from the pack. Its originality and charm make it one of the best this week. The dense narrative will ensure that you read it more than once.
Leandri immediately goes to work with blowing you away with incredible art that draws inspiration from comics from the Golden and Silver Ages. The colours are vibrant and infuse the comic with more life than you’d think possible given the undead subject matter. Drawing comparisons to Mike Allred seems a necessary way of describing Leandri’s work for those that aren’t familiar, but it’s far from being a case of the copycats. While the story is fun and out-of-this-world, it’s the art that really makes this comic something to recommend.
The visuals are fantastic and really only slip up during a few panels which aren’t framed very well. Leandri’s style doesn’t subscribe to our version of reality, so you may at first be thrown by the oddly proportioned faces. Leandri’s consistency in drawing all of his characters shows that it’s a style choice and not an error on the part of the artist. Nevertheless, the unique approach he takes may not work for all readers, especially those with stringent expectations that comic visuals should mirror a traditional approach.
For all of its story-telling power, especially its phenomenal opening scene, the first issue of Nightworld has an end that doesn’t live up to the rest of the book. I maintain that books like this are necessary to keep the art form growing and the market diverse, but in a world of tough competition I’m not sure if this issue does a good enough job of selling the next one. Certainly if you enjoyed this one you’ll be back next month, but what I mean is that there isn’t a clear direction of where we’re going from here—other than our heroes are going to try and track down something called the Soul Key. This lack of a cliff-hanger may end up paying off for this creative team, but it seemed odd to me, as I began writing this review, that they didn’t point at what we should expect for the next issues of this limited series.
Beautiful writing and gorgeous art make for a compelling opening for this series, but a weak finish may leave some readers uncertain. McGovern and Leandri don’t necessarily have a runaway classic on their hands but do get major points for taking a huge risk with this series. The trippy, crazy art should raise a few eyebrows. “Nightworld #1” will provide you with an experience that is unlike anything else you’ll find at your local comic book store this week, and that really does make it worth checking out.
“Nightworld #1” earns 7.7 / 10