Writer: Wyatt Kennedy
Art: Luigi Formisano
Colors: Francesco Segala and Gloria Martinelli
Letters: Maria Letizia Mirabella
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 11th, 2023
Nights #1 is a double-size debut issue of a new series set in an alternate America of 1999 which has 31 states instead of 50, Florida is owned by Spain and vampires, ghosts and other supernatural creatures live peacefully (and not so peacefully) amongst the living. Vince, a teenager whose parents have died, arrives in Santa Pedro Florida to live with his older cousin Ivory, and over time will learn about life, vampires and a coming apocalypse.
Nights #1 has a great leisurely pace, introducing us to Vince and the cast of characters, most of whom live together in a huge house and have distinctive quirks and jobs. We get to experience it all through Vince, who at times seems overwhelmed by everyone he’s meeting and every new thing he sees. The world and its rules are laid out very well. Vampires are rare but seem to have most of the weaknesses that traditional vampires have (including being hurt by sunlight). Ghosts look like skeletons and go about their “lives”, but have 25 years to solve any unfinished business they had when they died. If they don’t, they’ll just vanish instead of moving on to a higher plane.
It’s enjoyable just taking in the world along with Vince. Watching him skateboard and make friends, hanging out at his new home playing video games with Matt (Ivory’s strange friend) and going to the local Blockbuster (yes, Blockbuster Video is still thriving here) with Gray. Ah Gray, by far the most intriguing character in the book. She’s a female vampire who appears to be in her 20’s who lives in the moment. She’s impulsive, risk-taking and hates working. She loves money but has no patience for jobs. She and Vince develop a special bond over the course of the book, as Vince totally crushes on her, one of those crushes High School guys always get for that girl that’s older and impossibly out of their league.
I would have enjoyed just 56 pages of the characters hanging out in this world, but we get some deeper things happening. Ivory’s shady dealings are shown and the story jumps in time twice, possibly setting up a Quentin Tarantino-style method of storytelling where we check in on each time period as the series progresses. One time period is set in the present, the second is set 5 years in the future, where one of the characters has died and things have changed for everyone, and the third is set at the time of the apocalypse, an apocalypse caused by one of the characters. It sets up a great storytelling structure ahead, as we check in on each time period to see how we got there and where we’re headed. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come with this fascinating group of characters and this bizarre beautiful world they live in.
Luigi Formisano’s art on Nights #1 has a manga feel to it but he gives it his own unique twist. Though there’s not much background detail in the art, the characters are wonderfully expressive and their personalities shine through. The design of the ghosts is especially great, giving them a comically skeletal look that makes them look like they wandered in from the film “The Return of the Living Dead”. When one of the ghosts stops to talk to one of the characters, you can practically hear their jaw hinges squeaking.
Nights #1 introduces us to a strange new world that’s both menacing and fun. All the characters have interesting quirks and secrets that promise to pay off in the future and the storytelling structure is unique. It’s a great read and a fantastic beginning to a new series. Recommended.