Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Moonshine' #1 by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso



★★★★☆ (4/5)

Appalachia can't catch a break. Ever since Deliverance left a mark on cinematic history for backwoods vacations, Appalachians have gotten a bad rap. They're not the inbred, banjo-playing, tourist-humping, freaks we've been led to believe. Case in point, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso join forces once again to bring 'Moonshine' to stores this week about an illegal distiller deep in the northern hills of West Virginia that is unlike any hillbilly clan you've ever heard of. 

Meet Lou Pirlo, an overconfident big city liaison for a mob boss, he's looking to broker a deal that would bring the finest hooch being produced during Prohibition to New York. All Lou has to do is convince Hiram Holt and his brood with an offer he can't refuse. It turns out, Hiram isn't some toothless hillbilly, he's an iron-fisted businessman unimpressed with Pirlo or law enforcement for that matter. He knows he's the king of this hill and his moonshine is the best there is. It's going to take more than a slick-talking well-dressed Yankee to make a deal.


Azzarello is a master of creating worlds where the lines between good and evil are blurred. There's no hero here, at least not yet, but equally shady characters from the mob to the bootleggers get to feel each other out. Something is amiss though and when Lou finally makes it to Hiram deep in the hills you feel his anxiety as he approaches. Whatever bravado he had melts quickly after Lou realizes he is not to be played with. It could prove fatal if he steps out of line. And here he thought the big boss back in New York was intimidating.


And Azzarello sets the story without even really delving into the supernatural side of 'Moonshine.' There's a slight hint of it but it's pretty ballsy of Azzarello to set it aside for now, solicitations be damned. But he really doesn't have to. The set up with a two-bit mob lackey like Lou venturing into the West Virginia hills being totally out of place and alone with Hiram's clan is enough of an unnerving exercise in hard-boiled storytelling. 


Eduardo Risso's art helps to tell the story with his great depiction of rough-and-tumble characters, scenic landscapes, and distinctive color schemes. He uses silhouettes to great use, sometimes less is more and is versatile enough to go from an awkward diner scene to a bloody dismemberment scene with relative ease and skill. If you've read 100 Bullets you know Risso can set a mood with the best of them. 


Even though Azzarello and Risso have only grazed the surface with the debut issue of 'Moonshine,' we've seen enough to know this is another great collaboration between two great creators. It's dripping with atmosphere and danger, a pulpy rural noir, that is only getting started. 'Moonshine' is a no-brainer to add to your pull list.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

REVIEW: 'Slots' #1 by Dan Panosian

Created, written, and drawn by Dan Panosian, 'Slots' #1 is his baby and he has a story to tell at his own damn pace. This beautifully illustrated story is centered squarely on former boxer Stanley Dance and his attempt to find redemption despite being someone without many redeeming qualities.


SLOTS #1 
Writer: Dan Panosian Artist: Dan Panosian Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: October 4, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Slots' is more of a character study than a rip-roaring crime caper but Panosian's protagonist is a charming cad, full of confidence, capable of swindling you out of a restaurant bill with a devilish grin on his face. He's headed back to Vegas to fulfill a favor he owes. He returns to his old haunts where everyone knows him and knows he must be playing some kind of angle. 'Slots' succeeds because Stanley is so magnetic even when he's a jerk he's interesting. So following him around town meeting up with old friends is…

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #2 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo

As Carin becomes accustomed to her new abilities, Stryker is determined to keep her out of the line of fire. He knows these "gifts" come at a price. Meanwhile, The Accuser recruits a dangerous ally.


CYBER FORCE #2  
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Edited by Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: April 25, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill set the foundation in issue one with the explosive and destructive arrival of The Accuser. In her wake was the shattered body of Stryker, who along with his paraplegic daughter, get an extraordinary chance to become not only whole again but enhanced. Carin has taken to her powerful working legs with enthusiasm and joy. Stryker not so much because he knows they're being used by C.O.I.It's an uneasy arrangement but origin stories are rarely simple and carefree. Whether one's powers are considered a gift or a curse, there is a price to pay i…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …