Thanks to the many superhero movies and shows that have flooded theaters and streaming services, people are by now well familiar with the superhero origin story. Once the hero is bitten by a radioactive animal, caught in a nuclear bomb explosion, or discovered they get powers while under a yellow sun, they choose a costume, a superhero moniker, and begin fighting crime. That’s the basic story of Night Club, Volume One; written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Juanan Ramirez, except this story includes an intoxicating, bloody blend of vampire tropes.
The hero in question is Danny Garcia, a high school student and future viral sensation who is gravely injured in a stunt gone wrong. Lying in the hospital with a series of broken bones, young Daniel is visited by a vampire who recruits the young man in a war with other, more murderous vampires. But Danny doesn’t want to be just a soldier in an immortal war. He can take being shot, climb walls, and transform himself into mist or a swarm of bats. All he and his friends Sam and Amy need are luchadore masks, and some extra clothing to keep out the sun, to become superheroes who save the day while recording their exploits to put up on social media.
Some might be familiar with Millar’s more out there works like Wanted and American Jesus, but Night Club, reflects a more traditional approach to its superheroes. Millar’s story relies on the tried and true formula of typical superhero origin stories. Once Danny discovers his powers, he and his friends (whom he recently turned into vampires) enjoy their superhuman abilities until they encounter a larger and deadlier threat, which is a family of older vampires who murder rather indiscriminately. Millar doesn’t reinvent the wheel here. He simply smashes vampires and superhero tropes together, but Millar, who has also written several superhero comics for Marvel, tells a fun superhero story.
That superhero energy is maintained thanks to the dynamic artwork of Ramirez, who depicts these teen heroes as leaping from car to car, exploding into a swarm of bats, and baring their teeth at criminals. That style, along with the designs of their superhero costumes, enforces the idea that this book is a superhero story that just happens to feature vampires. Being that these heroes are vampires, Ramirez also depicts the necessary amount of blood and violence to show that these heroic vampires are still vampires who drink blood and who tend to combust when exposed to sunlight.
This book will soon have a show on Netflix, but Millar and Ramirez’s book works well beyond being a media tie-in. Though this book happens to feature creatures of the night, this superhero story has more in common with Spider-Man than the Crow, less about revenge and more about teenage power fantasies. This book’s teeth might put it in the adult section, but it seems tailor-made for adult superhero fans who loved watching Spider-Man swing above the New York streets and who’ve watched vampire movies like The Lost Boys multiple times.
Night Club Volume One
By Mark Millar
Art by Juanan Ramirez
Publisher Age Rating: 16 years and up
Related media: Comic to TV
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)