As stated on its Kickstarter page, Late Knights Issue 1: A Sense of Steel, is a lot of family-friendly fun. It’s art and story have a child-like spirit and through its straightforward plot, we get to meet several fun and interesting characters. The story of the Late family, parents Charles and Casandra and their three children, Bill, Lizzie, and Vix, are members of a secret order of Knights. These modern Templar heroes fight crime and protect their city, but are a loving family first and foremost. This first issue skillfully sets up future stories and rounds out the world of the Late family very well. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at what these chivalrous spies are up to.
When they’re not in school, the Late children are in training to become active Knights. They each have their own skills: Bill is a scientist, Lizzie is a computers expert, and Vix is their linguist and pilot. And yet, on an average, rainy London day, the three go to school like any other kid would. There is some light banter between the three that sets up the sibling dynamic nicely. They can get on each others’ nerves, but ultimately they love each other very much. They have the perfect kind of relationship to see in action on a dangerous mission or in a time of crisis, kind of like in The Incredibles.
Their father, Charles, gets a bit of action next as he avoids being robbed by two cartoonish muggers in an alleyway. The muggers are appropriately dim-witted and make Charles’ stylish escape all the more fun. However, once at home, Charles notices that something is very wrong. For a brief moment (in a great splash page by artist Matt Strott), we see Charles in full Knight armor. Its design is a great mix of medieval and technological, with the Templar logo in a bright white-red pattern. The Templars themselves are explained in a historical intermission that combines real life history with Late Knight‘s fictional organization. It’s a nice, unexpected touch that significantly fleshes out where this series could go in the future.
Once the kids get home, they too realize something is amiss and jump into action. Their costumes are a lot of fun too, attuned more to their personalities than the Templar motif. From there we meet two more supporting characters: Sir Herbert, an elderly former Knight and friend of their parents, and Miss Fur Frost, an icy antagonist who sends out her Cold Cats to fight the children. The fight is a good bit of action and it shows off just how capable these kids are. By the issue’s end, it’s clear why these kids would make great additions to the team.
We get a brief, post-credits tease at the first villain the Late family will face: Chamelegran, a hypnotising grandma who is building her own evil army. Sure, that sounds wild, but it fits right in with the rest of this issue’s colorful tone. As engaging as the Templar history/spy organisation plots are, the best part of Late Knights (and indeed what I assume will be the best part of future issues) is the family dynamic between the three siblings and their parents. Bill, Lizzie, and Vix all have their own strengths and quirks and work well together as a team. Hopefully, more time can be spent in future issues with Casandra, their mother, as she didn’t get much time to shine in this first issue. All in all, Late Knights: A Sense of Steel is a delightful read that sets up plenty of potential fun ideas to come.