I think that we can all agree that homage needs two things to work. It needs to tap into the strengths of the original piece, and it needs to work on its own merits. Danger Club succeeds at both.
Danger Club has one of the best premises to a comic I have seen; the superheroes and most of the supervillians have teamed up to fight the ultimate cosmic threat. They lost. Now, three months later, the sidekicks and wards are all that are left, and the threat is still out there. The team is led by Kid Vigilante, an unpowered, hyper-intelligent, expert fighter with a plan. Then, there is Yoshimi Onomoto, the mechanic-turned-pilot of a giant mech. I should mention that Yoshimi is from Micro-Tokyo, and her giant mech is about regular-person sized. The two other main members of the team are Ivan the Magician and Jack Fearless. These two are less defined, but I think that this is as much a function of limited space in this story as anything else.
So, homage. This is a fairly straightforward case inspired by the Teen Titans. Now, I want to be clear; Danger Club brings a tremendous amount to the table, but Kid Vigilante is pretty similar to Robin, and the team is a group of teens who have worked as sidekicks. The things that keep this from being a disappointing clone are the new take and the skill that is on display.
The tone here is simultaneously oppressive and funny. The world is a bleak and horrible place and the adults are all gone, but there are moments of levity that somehow manage to fit. The best example of this is in the second issue, where Yoshimi has an amusing trip to Micro-Tokyo and Kid Vigilante reveals the biggest tragedy in his life. The effect is interesting. The tragedy keeps the comedy grounded and the comedy keeps the tragedy from making you want to sob in the corner.
I was impressed with this book. It uses the familiarity of the characters to move swiftly and smoothly into the story. The action is exciting and has real stakes. The twists on the standard formula work well and kept me on my toes. In short, this comic does what superhero comics are supposed to do; it tells an interesting story well and makes the heroes more important than their powers.
Four-and-a-Half-Inch-Tall Japanese Heroes out of Five.