Nights #1 Review

Written by: Wyatt Kennedy

Art by: Luigi Formisano

Coloring by: Francesco Segala, Gloria Martinelli

Lettering by: Maria Letizia Mirabella

Editing by: Alana Fox

Have you ever read a book and had it feel more mature than you? That’s how it felt reading Nights #1. In my pursuit to continue diversifying my taste in comics outside of the Big Two, I’ve picked up an urban fantasy book that’s not like many others. While a vampire is a central character, this isn’t another These Savage Shores. Don’t expect any vampires to be allegories for something complex and old like imperialism, at least in this first issue. Rather, this story is about a kid who has a very inappropriate crush on a vampire. A vampire who happens to be roommates with his serial killer cousin/guardian, and a skeletal ghost who we haven’t gotten to yet.

The creative team is doing something more modern and mature with its fabled monsters. Ghosts are actively trying to figure out how to finish their unfinished business so they die a second time. The vampires are out and about but feel properly unadjusted. Most importantly, humans can feel far more monstrous than any monster.

Another way in which Nights #1 feels more mature is how the high schooler protagonist is framed in the presence of his vampire buddy. Everyone knows the trope of a vampire falling in love with a high schooler. While the vampire in this book doesn’t seem to have romantic feelings, the way she speaks and coerces him into committing crimes and her general vibe feel… predatory. Rather than have its vampire be the kind of predator who hunts and stalks prey like a wolf, the vampire in Nights #1 hunts and stalks like a predator you’ve met at a college party. She endears herself to people she has years of experience over and acts like she’s younger than she is. She appears cool and aloof in a way that would make any high school boy think she’s cool… but something is unsettling with how close and touchy she can be.

This is where I kind of feel that the book was more mature than me because I was falling for her tricks. I had the experience to realize that I shouldn’t be, but at the same time, I was second-guessing myself. The book feels so clever, like it’s wrapping a blanket around me only to block my peripheral so I don’t see the traps ahead. Hell, they may not even be there, I could be reading into things.

I just really think the dynamic between the protagonist and the vampire feels like an intentional choice. This is partially because vampires are notorious for being social predators, but there’s also something else. The art of Nights #1 does this very subtle and incredibly skillful thing, where her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes when she’s with the protagonist. I could be reading into and imposing my own biases on the story more than I should, but it’s interesting. It’s not a dynamic that’s often investigated in the media, nor is it framed in such a cynical view. It feels more honest depiction of this classic dynamic than we usually read. The urban fantasy environment just makes it all the more interesting.

Thank You For Reading! Read Nights #1 Yourself!

Maybe I’m crazy, maybe the book isn’t half as deep or intriguing as I think, but I know that I’m definitely waiting for the next issue to drop with great anticipation, and I heavily suggest that everyone else does too.

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