The best part of “All Nighter” #1 is the first page: a splash of a woman in her early twenties with short, kind of spiky hair, a skull and crossbones t-shirt that replaces the skull with a cassette tape, a hole in the left knee of her jeans, sitting atop the roof of a diner. The look on her face is one of concerned sadness as she narrates, “My name is Kit Bradley. Nine years ago, I killed my mother. Tonight I have to do something that qualifies as the second hardest thing I’ll ever have to go through. Okay, it’s a distant second… but I have to find a way to break up with my boyfriend. Again.” It’s a powerful mix of art and words that hook you right away. A fantastic beginning.
The rest of the issue is a slight incline downhill from there. It’s hard to top an opening page that smacks you in the face and demands your attention like that, and nothing in “All Nighter” #1 completely holds it. Kit’s problems are intriguing, but not engrossing in any way. Her boyfriend is a lowlife thief who keeps dragging her down with him as she tries to better herself, her best friend is supportive and lacking in personality otherwise, and their roommate is a whiner. While Kit is given enough focus to come away as a three-dimensional character, everyone else is clearly supporting cast only.
The plot of the book is where it suffers the most. Right now, it’s a loose collection of events in Kit’s life that don’t quite add up to much beyond… well, a loose collection of events in her life. The broader structure isn’t quite apparent yet and, right now, the comic is driven by Kit’s personality and David Hahn’s cartooning abilities.
Hahn’s basic, cartoony art captures the personalities of the cast, giving them all simple and easy to grasp looks. You see Kit and you immediately have a sense of who she is that’s then strengthened by the writing. The same goes for the other characters. Hahn’s compositions are clear and unmuddled, focusing in on what needs to be communicated in each panel, often choosing to depict a single character in a shot. What really stands out is how well he draws faces. Like the designs of his characters, his facial expressions communicate so much so directly and simply.
David Hahn begins “All Nighter” #1 incredibly well and can’t quite live up to that first page. The rest of the comic is entertaining, bolstered by the protagonist and his strong art, but it never gets going completely. Right now, it meanders from scene to scene, looking for direction. There’s enough promise in this first issue that the second warrants a look, though, and, hopefully, with the introductory stage over, the plot can get moving then.