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REVIEW: Comixology’s The All-Nighter #7

Chip Zdarsky’s The All-Nighter #7 ups the ante and steps into the bigger world of superheroes as Alex is confronted with a shocking new reality.

In the world of Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo’s The All-Nighter, vampires have it tough. On the one hand, forming a coven goes against the vampiric decree, yet living alone as a supernatural being is dangerous; one slip up, and The Takers will whisk you away. The vampires of the All-Nighter diner have managed to stay under the radar for some time now. However, all that changes when their superheroic escapades their lives upside down, opening an unprecedented floodgate of magical creatures and monsters who start donning masks to wreak havoc. Zdarsky and Loo are joined by colorist Paris Alleyne and letterer Aditya Bidikar in The All-Nighter #7, the new issue from Comixology Originals which introduces an alarming new development.

The previous issue showed Ian’s backstory, revealing him to be none other than the legendary vampire Dracula. At the end of the Second World War, Dracula intended to bring democracy to the vampire society. Instead, reactionary forces, led by the vampire Lazaruk, ousted Dracula and took power. Now, they are here, masquerading as heroes for nefarious reasons known only to them. The All-Nighter #7 opens with Joy returning home to her ailing mother, while Alex goes out like he always does, dressed as the vigilante Nightshock. Unfortunately, he walks into an ambush and is saved by the Justice Angels, who, unbeknownst to Alex, are the very vampires seeking their demise.

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As superhero stories progress, they tend to introduce hordes of new villains and explore increasingly convoluted plotlines. The All-Nighter #7 is no exception. Multiple narratives run parallel to each other now, each having its own sub-plot. New characters find a place in the current storyline as the protagonists experience a turning point in their lives. Zdarsky keeps the book entertaining with new developments at every turn of the page, sometimes captivating audiences with tense action or with some plain old character-driven drama. The All-Nighter #7 forgoes much of its intensity from previous issues and bases its storytelling on interpersonal exchanges that provide exposition and form the building blocks for a riveting tale.

Loo’s bold pencilwork may look deceptively coarse, but he efficiently captures even the smallest of details, from the interior of a diner to the brick and asphalt of the city streets. His artwork complements Zdarsky’s script, placing the characters at the front and center of the panels. Loo uses a plethora of hatching lines to fill the negative space while using crisp pen strokes to draw emotive faces. Colorist Paris Alleyne uses a predominant pinkish hue on the pages, adding a bluish matte to portray shadows in the background. Meanwhile, Aditya Bidikar’s lettering skills help readers follow the book with ease.

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The All-Nighter #7 goes deeper down the rabbit hole, exploring new avenues of storytelling while keeping the supernatural aspect of the premise intact. A new “superhero” team makes a flashy appearance in this issue, getting a warmer reception from the people and media than Nightshock had anticipated. Zdarsky knowingly sets up the plot in this manner to create a subversion for the characters involved since the audience is already privy to the secret identities of these new masked menaces, creating a dramatic irony that drives the book. But for the most part, it is a quiet affair as everyone faces their own personal dilemma. The All-Nighter #7 ends on a chilling final page that somehow manages to raise the stakes of the series once more.

Sayantan is a comic book fan based in India who loves good storytelling more than anything else. His power to bore people to death with Kaiju lore is only rivaled by his love for books and movies. He has a master’s degree in Energy Tech and loves to watch soccer. You can take a gander at his artworks here: @kenichikyuro

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