Moonshine #1 (Image Comics)
Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso made quite the team when they created 100 Bullets, and now with their new Image series Moonshine they’re hoping to recapture some of that magic again. A Prohibition era werewolf series, Moonshine’s debut issue has what it takes for another cool ongoing series, even if it takes a little too long to get the plot moving.
Moonshine focuses on Lou Pirello, the main enforcer for mob boss Joe Masseria. Looking to increase his hold on the illegal alcohol making its way into New York City, Masseria has gotten word of a new batch of moonshine being made in Virginia by Hiram Holt, and wants Pirello to go and “convince” Holt to allow Masseria to be his supplier. Pirello, being the good company man that he is, heads down to Virginia, but when he gets to Holt’s home deep in the woods he starts to notice strange behavior among Holt’s kids. And when Holt brings Pirello to the location of a bunch of mutilated FBI agents, ones that look more like they were ripped apart by animals than gunned down by machine guns, Pirello starts to question just what is going on in those woods.
Brian Azzarello plays up the mob prohibition angle pretty heavy in the issue, and that actually works really well, as it allows him to slowly build to the werewolf stuff that’s to come later in the series. Sure, there’s a quick scene at the beginning to grab your attention, but by and large this reads more like a mob story with a touch of something otherworldly going on instead of werewolves dressed as mobsters. Azzarello also has a great gift for dialogue and characterization, and Moonshine #1 has this in spades. From the first few pages you know these characters will stay with you.
Eduardo Risso’s work in 100 Bullets and Dark Night: A True Batman Story is proof that he’s a fantastic artist, and his work in Moonshine is another worthy addition to his bibliography. If Azzarello’s script is the mood set-up, Risso’s art is the home run. His panels are dark and foreboding, bringing a great sense of creepy atmosphere to Pirello’s trip to Virginia. The members of the Holt clan are all distinct and odd as well, and while we don’t see his werewolves full on, the shadows that they draw make them seem truly monstrous.
Moonshine couldn’t have come at a better time of the year, and while it doesn’t have quite as much monster action as the pitch would have you believe, there’s still plenty to like in this issue. With any luck, we could have the start of the next 100 Bullets. If not, this is a story mixing the mob with werewolves, which is still pretty damn cool.