Moonshine #5 Review by Max Mallet
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art & Colors: Eduardo Risso
Color Assistant: Cristian Rossi
Letters & Design: Jared K. Fletcher
“All of this… you let happen.”
Moonshine is a tale that blends several genres into one hairy beast. Can you name another comic on the stands that marries rural noir, urban mafia and horror? In recent years, Image has been the king of horror and sci-fi. While Moonshine does have elements of the former, it’s a pretty unique book in the Image catalogue and commands its own voice and aesthetic style.
Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Joker) crafts a blood-and-liquor-soaked tale that crosses state and cultural lines in the Great Depression era. Unlike its namesake hooch, Moonshine #5 is a slow burn that draws out character and world development with intense peaks of violence. While the strength of Azzarello’s writing is that each character has a unique voice, these characters all feel like they belong to their time and place. He captures hillbilly twang and urban gangster diction alike, providing a compelling reason for these two worlds to collide. This is a world brimming with flawed characters that seem to thrive on high-risk situations and conflict.
One curious aspect of Moonshine is that this is a mafia/rural noire tale so far, with the creative team only teasing the werewolf aspect of the story. This is a shame because Eduardo Risso’s (100 Bullets, Aliens) covers have been hair-raising. The veteran artist work is often joyful, despite the dark overall tone of the story. In this way, Risso makes reading Moonshine akin to the comic equivalent of very adult Saturday morning cartoons (on that note, read this story, and especially this issue, in public at your own risk). Most of his colors are muted, except for red. This is a pattern that a few Image books boast, most notably Southern Bastards, and Moonshine’s story lends itself to this tactic.
Verdict: Check it Out. You can tell that Azzarello and Risso have partnered on stories before. The art and the narrative voice compliment each other very well. It’s taken a while for the horror aspect of the story to take hold, but it looks like the next issue, which concludes the arc, will feed that hunger. This is a slow, but satisfying burn — one that might read better in a trade.