Reviews, Comics

Nights #5 Advanced Review: The Beach Episode

Wyatt Kennedy and Luigi Formisano deliver one of “Nights” wildest issues yet, one filled with blood and water slides.

Nights 5 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 15, 2024, 10:26 AM

Nights #5

Review
Rating
9
Good
Nights 5 Full Cover

Writer: Wyatt Kennedy

Artist: Luigi Formisano

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: February 21, 2024

Page Count: 32

Format: Single-issue

Nights continues its streak of being a series packed with surprises. What starts as a wholesome slice-of-life-esque “beach episode” transforms into a dark tale with major implications for the story to come.

Nights by Wyatt Kennedy and Luigi Formisano was easily one of my surprise favorite comics of 2023. Having never read the previous works of either creator before the series started, I picked Nights up on a whim after seeing previews of the charming art and premise. Little did I know that I was getting into a series that is much crazier than it seems. Yet, even with its well-rounded cast of misfits and world filled with peculiar oddities, it’s clear that the comic is only scratching the surface of how insane its story can get. This latest issue proves that as pieces fall into place for what is sure to be a shocking story arc finale. Continue reading for my review of Nights #5, arguably the series’ wildest issue yet. 

Overview

The gang takes a trip to the water park just before it closes for an evening of fun and mayhem. Vince sees the night out as the perfect chance to take his relationship with Gray to the next level. But not everything goes how he hoped, as something sinister awakens deep within Gray. Whether his crush sinks or swims suddenly seems like the least of Vince’s (and the rest of the world’s) problems.

Nights 5 - skeleton using computerImage: Image Comics

Review

Since my first review of Nights, I’ve always gushed about how it’s a series that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. You’ll get sprinkles of FLCL, the Monogatari series, and even a little Evangelion in the mix. As someone who is also big on anime and manga, it’s been a treat reading a comic book that blends the unique quirks of Western and Japanese-style media into one charming package. So, of course, I was pleasantly surprised to see this series have its version of a “beach episode” in this latest issue. But Nights does the trope in a way that’s less for fan service (not to say there isn’t any) and more for world-building and character development. The water park where the issue takes place presents a fresh and vibrant setting that looks like something straight out of Mario Kart. Then, with the whole cast together in the same place for once, we see plenty of unique interactions for the first time. All those parts come together for an issue that advances the relationship between Vince and Gray, explores more of the world of Santo Pedro, and even gives some shine to side characters.

However, as much as this issue has plenty of the usual antics you can expect from the obligatory “beach episode,” there is also a dark twist that flips the comic’s story over its head. While I won’t give away much of what happens, I’ll say that such a twist encapsulates what’s incredible about the series. The mood and tone of the issue go from something as lighthearted as the gang joyfully riding water slides to sudden flashes of grotesque body horror in a matter of pages. But as absurd as that may sound, there’s a fluidity to the storytelling and art that makes all the different pieces fit so well together. As fun as it is seeing Gray, Vince, and the rest of the group of friends vibe and hang out by the pool, the kicker of this issue is the surprising revelations about the story’s dark underlying plot. It’s arguably the series’ most intimate look into what it's all about, as it leads into the first story arc’s dramatic climax.

Nights 5 - swimmingImage: Image Comics

For an issue with so many twists and turns, the incredible work of the art team led by Luigi Formisano cannot go unnoticed. “Fluid” again is the best word I can use to describe the art. Which I think is perfect, considering this issue is the “beach episode.” The vibrant environment of the water park is a refreshing change of pace from the city and suburbs we’re used to seeing in the series. Then, when things get dark, Formisano and crew don’t hold back on creating some genuinely horrifying imagery. It’s simply incredible to flip through the pages of issues like this and realize the range of art on display throughout every page.

Final Thoughts

This latest issue of Nights showcases everything that makes it such a fun series to follow. There’s always something hilarious or dark to discover in the wonderfully strange world Wyatt Kennedy and Luigi Formisano created. I never would have expected the series to take its darkest turn in an issue that starts as a fun and lighthearted outing to the water park. Yet, here we are. Now that the series is at the cusp of its first story arc finale, I can’t wait to see what insanity will unfold once it reaches the deep end.

Nights 5 - on top of diving boardImage: Image Comics

Why You Should Read Nights

  • This latest issue is presented like a “beach episode” but with a twist.
  • The comic’s dark overarching plot reveals more of itself leading into the story arc finale.
  • Luigi Formisano is an incredible artist you must keep your eyes on.
TAGGED: Image Comics
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