By Night, Vol. 1

By Night, Vol. 1

After discovering a mysterious device, Jane and Heather decide try their hand at documentary filmmaking... in another dimension! There’s something strange going on in Spectrum, South Dakota.  Home to high school best friends Jane Langstaff and Heather Meadows, Spectrum is a boomtown that’s long since stopped booming, with nothing to show for its former glory but the abando...

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Title:By Night, Vol. 1
Author:John Allison
Rating:
Edition Language:English

By Night, Vol. 1 Reviews

  • Paul E. Morph

    I'm really enjoying this; it's closer to 'Scary-Go-Round' than 'Giant Days' and you can tell the creative team are having tons of fun.

  • Artemy

    John Allison is already my comic book hero for creating and writing Giant Days, the best and most consistent comic of the last four years. So I had high hopes for his new series, By Night — a book about two girls discovering a mysterious supernatural realm. I'm glad to say that it's pretty good! Not Giant Days good (nothing is), but Allison brings here a lot of his signature sense of humour and excellent dialogue, and I really liked all the characters.

    What I wasn't completely sold on is the supe

    John Allison is already my comic book hero for creating and writing Giant Days, the best and most consistent comic of the last four years. So I had high hopes for his new series, By Night — a book about two girls discovering a mysterious supernatural realm. I'm glad to say that it's pretty good! Not Giant Days good (nothing is), but Allison brings here a lot of his signature sense of humour and excellent dialogue, and I really liked all the characters.

    What I wasn't completely sold on is the supernatural element of the book — we didn't get to see a lot of it in these first four issues, and what was shown was very vague and at the same time pretty generic, and it's not yet clear why it's there and where the story is going. There is a bit of a mystery behind it involving a missing person who went into the realm and is nowhere to be found, but that plot line is left to explore in the following volumes, I assume.

    However, I loved pretty much every other thing about the book. The highlight of the entire collection was issue #3, focused entirely on the two supporting characters, Chip (one of the girl's dad) and Barney (other girl's co-worker). I loved those two! Chip is a bit like McGraw, a no-nonsense, rugged and sensible man who still has a big heart, and Barn is a smart, slightly sarcastic but ultimately loveable dude. Together they make a great team as they look for clues and bond over their disdain for modern teenagers.

    Christine Larsen and Sara Stern's artwork looks great and fits the tone of the series well. It looks a bit like Allison's own art style, but more detailed and polished. The character designs are fun and instantly recognisable, and all the environments also look really good.

    Overall, By Night Volume 1 is an enjoyable (if a bit wonky) start to the series, and I'm looking forward to what John Allison has planned for it next.

  • Devann

    [edit 6/24/19: Ok I tried the next issue and I think I'm gonna have to drop this one. Nothing is really grabbing me.]

    I love Giant Days, but for some reason this title just didn't grab me the same way. Although if I remember correctly it did take me a few volumes to warm up to Giant Days as well, so maybe Allison is just a slow series started. There are definitely some funny moments and the characters and setting have a lot of potential I think, but right now it's all much less exciting than it s

    [edit 6/24/19: Ok I tried the next issue and I think I'm gonna have to drop this one. Nothing is really grabbing me.]

    I love Giant Days, but for some reason this title just didn't grab me the same way. Although if I remember correctly it did take me a few volumes to warm up to Giant Days as well, so maybe Allison is just a slow series started. There are definitely some funny moments and the characters and setting have a lot of potential I think, but right now it's all much less exciting than it should be. I'll probably check out volume 2 just to see if the action picks up though.

  • Deborah Embury

    A pretty fun read that's kind of a combination of Scooby-Doo, Supernatural, and a whole lotta science-y stuff. The main characters are sweet, and I'm interested to see how they develop. I think the overall concept is cool, but it's lacking a that OOMPH that really would have made it stand out. I'll keep reading because I have faith in John Allison, but I'm hoping for a little more next time. The whole time I was reading this volume I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, which can be a good thing

    A pretty fun read that's kind of a combination of Scooby-Doo, Supernatural, and a whole lotta science-y stuff. The main characters are sweet, and I'm interested to see how they develop. I think the overall concept is cool, but it's lacking a that OOMPH that really would have made it stand out. I'll keep reading because I have faith in John Allison, but I'm hoping for a little more next time. The whole time I was reading this volume I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, which can be a good thing sometimes, but in the end I just felt a bit meh about it all.

  • Dakota Morgan

    John Allison can write excellent dialogue, as demonstrated in the endlessly appealing

    series. When it comes to writing an actual high-concept, plot-focused series like

    , Allison retains the dialogue, but loses much of the fun. Here we have Heather and Jane, witty smart-alecks trapped in small town South Dakota. With extremely minimal backstory barely established, they trek into an abandoned corporate headquarters and find a portal to another world. Rather than react out of fea

    John Allison can write excellent dialogue, as demonstrated in the endlessly appealing

    series. When it comes to writing an actual high-concept, plot-focused series like

    , Allison retains the dialogue, but loses much of the fun. Here we have Heather and Jane, witty smart-alecks trapped in small town South Dakota. With extremely minimal backstory barely established, they trek into an abandoned corporate headquarters and find a portal to another world. Rather than react out of fear, confusion, or any sort of uncertainty, they cockily decide to film the whole place and get rich.

    Other, more interesting friends are soon dragged into the affair, including Heather's father (an adult character in an Allison-penned story is often a nice surprise). The plot is aggressively light-hearted, with most issues being instantly resolved so that the characters can get back to snappy dialogue. That dialogue is mostly fun to read, but it's easy to imagine

    being more compelling if Allison had bothered to develop the world and narrative a bit more.

    Sidenote: I find it amusing that Allison, a resident of England, has characters refer to lunch as "dinner" and dinner as "supper." Not exactly typical American phrasing there.

  • Rod Brown

    A little too silly for me, probably because its aimed at a younger audience. Confronted with a portal to a fantasy realm, no one in the book acts as a reasonable person would. I get that its for comedic effect, but the characters aren't interesting or funny enough for me to put up with their nonsense. That's not to say there aren't some chuckles, but they're mild and too few in number.

    The British author decided to set this book in South Dakota without really having an ear for how Midwesterners t

    A little too silly for me, probably because its aimed at a younger audience. Confronted with a portal to a fantasy realm, no one in the book acts as a reasonable person would. I get that its for comedic effect, but the characters aren't interesting or funny enough for me to put up with their nonsense. That's not to say there aren't some chuckles, but they're mild and too few in number.

    The British author decided to set this book in South Dakota without really having an ear for how Midwesterners talk, so everyone here sounds like the English kids in his much better Giant Days series.

  • Sam Quixote

    I’m a huge fan of John Allison’s Giant Days - I read a lot of comics and this one is, in my mind, the best comic in the world - but strangely everything else of his I’ve read outside of that title, like Bad Machinery and his Shelley Winters one-shots, is mediocre at best. Unfortunately, Allison’s latest series, By Night, is firmly among his lesser efforts.

    I don’t have any truck with the story: a couple of twentysomething friends find a portal to another dimension and venture through to make a d

    I’m a huge fan of John Allison’s Giant Days - I read a lot of comics and this one is, in my mind, the best comic in the world - but strangely everything else of his I’ve read outside of that title, like Bad Machinery and his Shelley Winters one-shots, is mediocre at best. Unfortunately, Allison’s latest series, By Night, is firmly among his lesser efforts.

    I don’t have any truck with the story: a couple of twentysomething friends find a portal to another dimension and venture through to make a documentary about it - very Stargate-derivative. It doesn’t help that the other world is unimaginative and generic - basically fantasy-lite with orcs, vampires, werewolves and talking animals - or that that’s all that happens in this book. They find the portal, they kinda putz about with cameras and lighting in this other world, then leave. There’s one other storyline that’s barely touched upon - the missing industrial magnate - but I couldn’t have cared less about that. I was so bored reading this.

    A big part of Giant Days’ success is the wonderful core trio of characters. By Night hasn’t got anything like that. I didn’t find Jane and Heather’s friendship to be convincing - if anything, Jane seemed pissed off at Heather almost the entire time - while Barney, Jane’s co-worker, is a needless and contrived add-on and Heather’s dad, Chip, is a dull flatline. There’s no chemistry in the group. Chip also has a cliched backstory: high school football star, injured in his final year, married his highschool sweetheart, settled down, etc. Really, John Allison? I thought you were better than that, dude.

    Allison’s sparkling dialogue was the only highlight though none of the jokes landed and the girls at times sounded distinctly British and not American at all (“You’ve really got my Irish up!”). Did not enjoy Christine Larsen’s blocky art one bit.

    If you’ve never read John Allison before, I highly recommend starting with Giant Days instead of this or anything else he’s written, and I think any Allison fans thinking of checking this series out should lower them expectations drastically! By gum, By Night is disappointingly dull!

  • Crowinator

    Actual rating: 2.5 stars

  • Shan

    Much in the way that mediocre pizza is still pizza and therefore worth eating, a mediocre John Allison book is still a John Allison book and therefore worth reading.

  • Chris Lemmerman

    [This review covers all three volumes of By Night]

    By Night, from the mastermind behind Giant Days, John Allison, is a twelve issue maxi-series that features two friends who are trying to work out what to do with their lives when they uncover a conspiracy that spans dimensions and decades and could shake their tiny little town to its core.

    I don't really know what to make of By Night, honestly. It meanders along for twelve issues after establishing its characters, finding a few tangents to go on i

    [This review covers all three volumes of By Night]

    By Night, from the mastermind behind Giant Days, John Allison, is a twelve issue maxi-series that features two friends who are trying to work out what to do with their lives when they uncover a conspiracy that spans dimensions and decades and could shake their tiny little town to its core.

    I don't really know what to make of By Night, honestly. It meanders along for twelve issues after establishing its characters, finding a few tangents to go on instead (like the random issue about one of the characters getting their legs broken by a local mob boss, because sure), only really remembering the true plot of the book near the end and then reaching that ending on a bit of an anticlimax. It's strangely paced to say the least, and feels like both too much plot for just twelve issues and at times not enough plot to justify running that long.

    I wanted to try not to compare this book to Giant Days, but it's difficult when that one's so good and this one's just kind of there. The characters aren't nearly as likeable as those in Giant Days, and it's hard to root for any of them when you can forget their names at times.

    On art we have Christine Larsen, who does a fine job, but really doesn't get enough to work with. The sequences set in the Otherworld are fun and her designwork is great, but the human world stuff gets pretty bland when the town of Spectrum is basically various shades of grey.

    By Night's not a bad book - it just can't seem to decide what it wants to be, and by the time it does, it's run out of pages to tell the story successfully.

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