I have to admit, I have never read a single issue of 100 Bullets, and now that I’ve seen what Azzarello and Risso are capable of, I’m quickly going to fix that. Moonshine is easily the book I am most excited to see each month on my pull list, mainly because it’s just so damn good looking.
You can tell these creators have worked in the industry for quite a while as their sequential storytelling is flawless. Azzarello is putting together a prohibition era crime piece that is not unfamiliar, but with the added twist of a werewolf this book has a suspense that exceeds criminal activity.
Azzarello is moving this story along slowly though, not giving us too much to know about these characters just yet. He seems to be dropping hints here and there throughout though.. When Lou Pirlo recalls Hiram Holt turning down his deal for the sake of his children, there is an air of foreshadowing as none of Hiram’s kids seems to grateful for it, but maybe that’s just because we haven’t met them all quite yet.
Risso has an art style somewhere between Frank Miller and Mike Mignola and plans his panels with the expertise of Darwyn Cooke. His lines are crisp and figures perfectly stylized. His contrast is bumped up high for a heavy dose of the dark and his visuals have a sense of reality that feels effortless. As Mr. Pirlo is making off with Holt’s whiskey, Risso frames all the right visuals to make us feel as uncomfortable as Lou does. Even the look on the deer’s face as it jumps in front of the car makes us wonder if it’s fear could be from more than just the approaching car.
Color assistant Christian Rossi is really nailing these flat colors as well.He keeps the palette minimal and sticks to a few cool hues to give each page a sense of unity beyond Risso’s stylish inks.
Overall this is a really nice example of good comic storytelling. The panels flow seamlessly and tread steadily from start to finish, and when you get to the closing scene, it echoes the issue’s mysterious opening. It leaves you smirking while still wanting more. But Eduardo Risso is the real hero of this issue. He knocks the art out of the park. This issue is so steeped in style it hardly matters that the hillbillies might be talking a little funny. Risso’s inky noir grounds this story in a past that feels real despite its supernatural elements. The characters are clean and fluid; nothing about the way they look feels forced. The book almost feels like the first season of HBO’s True Detective in the sense that maybe there’s a little more style than there is substance at this point. But if you like Azzarello’s writing, have some faith, I’m sure he’s got something big planned here, and if you just like good clean artwork, pick up Moonshine #2 right away, it won’t disappoint. I’m going out to find myself a trade of 100 Bullets, because I don’t think I can wait till next month to see more of this creative team.
- Amazing art that’s steeped in noir
- Fluid storyline that raises just the right amount of questions
- A fun cast of characters in an interesting setting
- No real emotional connection to any one character just yet
- Some ebonics might read as more confusing than enveloping