By Night #3

Writer: John Allison
Artist: Christine Larsen
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios

Review by Cameron Kieffer

For those of you just joining us, By Night is the story of two childhood friends Jane (the sensible one) and Heather (the mischievous one) who stumble upon a device that transports them to a world of monsters, mystery, and mayhem.  Upon their return, Jane reveals the device to her co-worker Bernard as a safety measure in case they don’t come back from their next trip.  The previous issue ends on a cliffhanger with Bernard standing watch as the portal to the other world slowly closes.

Picking up almost immediately, By Night #3 follows Bernard as he awkwardly enlists Heather’s father Chip to accompany him to Charleswood.  Once they arrive at the mysterious estate, they must navigate through the local police, old file cabinets, and a mob of angry teenagers in order to locate our missing heroes.

This issue is quite a departure from the previous two, which focused primarily on Jane and Heather.  Here, Chip and Bernard take center stage, and, despite the slow pacing, spin a pretty engaging narrative of their own.  Their dynamic is awkward and amusing with John Allison’s penchant for humorous dialogue making them both all the more engaging.  Much of the story serves to flesh out Chip’s character, but Allison’s script keep the story from derailing into exposition.  There are so many great throwaway jokes, including the very last line, which Allison is known for, especially in works like Bad Machiniary and Giant Days.  The art by Christine Larsen seems a bit rougher than the previous issues, but Chip is a more rough and rugged character, so the style fits the tone, whether intentional or not.  Her cartoony style, punctuated by Sarah Stern’s colors, makes this a very pretty book to look at.

The Verdict: Check it out.

If you’re a fan of John Allison or you just like quirky stories with even quirkier characters, this book needs to be on your pull list.  We’re only three issues in, so there’s no excuse to give it a shot.

Cameron Kieffer
Cameron Kieffer wears many hats. He is a freelance writer and artist, creator of the webcomic "Geek Theory" and is co-host of the Nerd Dump podcast. He lives in Topeka with his wife and increasingly growing comic book collection.

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