NightFall #1 from ACE (Animation Comics Entertainment) is one of those comics that is frustratingly enjoyable. Why? Because it ends right when I NEED to know more, but perhaps that’s the intent of the writer/creator Dwayne Robinson Jr.
In Nightfall we’re introduced to Michael Vash a young man who seems to have everything going for him, a supportive family, a budding professional athletic career in his future, and a young lady who loves him. But a secret from his Mother’s past is fixing to turn his life upside down but good!
The story and pacing rock you into a false sense of security, I honestly thought I was reading a ‘slice-of-life’ book, something in the vein of 1999 by Noah Van Sciver or Brooklyn Dreams by J.M. DeMatteis, in fact, having no prior knowledge of this book (I personally bypass the cover and credits on my first review read-thru of any book) I audibly whispered ‘What the fuck?’ when Dwayne’s secret is revealed at the very end. In a good way, I was genuinely surprised.
The title is littered with subtle threads begging to be pulled on in future issues, is Michael’s athletic prowess a byproduct of his genetic affliction? How about his -ahem- sexual appetite? And what of his Father, was his death really as clear cut as Michael has been made to believe? It should be noted that while the title starts off rendered only in black and white Michael’s world gradually shifts into color during the first issue as his reality starts to shift. Future issues are full color.
Artist Dwayne Robinson Jr’s illustrations keep you involved in the story from beginning to end, there’s a fluidity to the movement of the characters that are usually missing in similar artistic styles with details and camera placement that some might have ignored altogether. Nightfall #1 is an incredibly professional release, save for a few minor faults.
The dialogue came across a bit ‘forced’ at two small points and a few pages could be considered “text-heavy”. Late in the book, there was a point where our hero Michael retires to his bedroom for the evening, but the very next panel is called downstairs before leaving out on his date, a narration box letting readers know that time had passed would have helped, but again nothing that breaks the enjoyment of the book.
Again; where Nightfall shines is in its professionalism, this book deserves a remastered print edition but right now is only available as a PDF through the ACE website for a very affordable and beyond worthwhile $3.00.
Overall readers will be excited to continue reading the series. Michael now forced to deal with hereditary lycanthropy will undoubtedly throw a wrench into his love life, athletic ambitions, and of course, whatever sinister plot is developing unbeknownst to him. This is one of those rare titles that is just shy of being held up as a shining example of when indie comics out-class their ‘millionaire club’ cousins….issues #2 is also currently available on the ACE website also for $3.00.
NOTE: Production value for Nightfall #1 was not considered in our rating as our review is based on a PDF version of the comic submitted by the creative team.