Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Moonshine, Volume 1 Review (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso)

Prohibition-era America and the mob grows rich bootlegging illegal hooch for the thirsty populace. Up in the Appalachian Mountains, Hiram Holt brews the best damn ‘shine in the States and Joe Masseira, mob boss of Noo Yawk, wants to sell it - but Holt ain’t interested. So Joe sends Lou Pirlo to convince him to do business with him… it’s eye-talian gangsters vs yee-hawin’ hillbillies in Moonshine! Also, werewolves. 

The 100 Bullets creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso reunite for their first Image series and I’ll give them this: Moonshine was the first werewolf comic I’ve read that didn’t suck! But it’s also not that great either. 

The problem is that the core concept doesn’t bear much fruit. After some back and forth it comes down to criminals shooting criminals which isn’t a very imaginative development of the plot. The werewolf element turns out to be incidental, almost unnecessary, and seems to be there to act as a double entendre for the title rather than serve as a key component of the story. 

It doesn’t help either that the characters are all stereotypes. The mob guys are all Italian caricatures – everyone says “capiche” and one dude’s even called Fat Tony! - while the hillbillies are country ass country boys, black people are portrayed as magic and the werewolves are like werewolves you’ve seen anywhere else. 

Eduardo Risso’s art is as beautiful as it’s ever been: noirish, sharp, and vividly coloured. I enjoyed it as much as I have in other books but he’s not doing anything different or taking any chances with his style. Still, it’s solid, high quality work. 

Disappointingly, given the calibre of the creative team, Moonshine, Volume 1 was underwhelming. The art is great and it’s not badly written despite the lazy characterisation. I wouldn’t say I was gripped as the story felt a bit too thin and underwritten though I was interested enough to keep reading. There’s enough going on to keep you going and the story has potential, it just isn’t realised in this first book.

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