Tag: Image Comics

With Further Ado #013: Moonshine Volume 2

With Further Ado #013: Moonshine Volume 2

Let your soul shine
It’s better than sunshine
It’s better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain

                         -Greg Allman  

Tweaking what Greg Allman sang, Moonshine is damn sure better than I expected. This Image series, by the longtime team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, just completed its sophomore story arc.  This story is collected in the trade paperback, Moonshine Vol 2 The Misery Train, in comic shops today.

When viewed through a simple lens, it makes sense that this “werewolf story” is released on Halloween. In reality, Moonshine offers readers more than a traditional wolfman yarn.  This drama, set during the time of Prohibition in the South, touches on everything from cultural family dynamics, male/female roles and the cyclical nature of lawbreakers. There’s also plenty of horror, suspense, deceit, sex and surprises.

At the outset, I (foolishly) expected Moonshine to be a mash-up of Bonnie and Clyde, O Brother  Where Art Thou? and a vicious werewolf movie, like An American Werewolf in London.  I wasn’t wrong, but this nuanced horror chiller is so much more.

It’s a scary story that’s a period piece, with clever characters providing glimpses into several cultural and economic groups. That sounds stuffy and boring, so let me add that it’s all a deliciously tasty scare too.

Azzarello’s Bags of Tricks

They story’s full of twists and turns in clever settings with unusual conflicts. But one of Azzarello’s strengths continues to be his incredible skill at developing intriguing characters.

Tempest is one of the main characters in this volume. She’s so far beyond the sexy “farmer’s daughter” character that readers might have initially assumed she was.   As rendered by Risso, she all about that seductive look, but in this story arc she’s steps up to become more clever and plotting.  There are points in the story where Tempest may think she’s a victim, but she’s reminded that others have it so much worse.  Her machinations might not have turned out the way she had hoped.  We can empathize with her frustrations while still not liking her. Or not trusting her.  Azzarello reveals that she’s not as mature as she’d like us all to believe.  He makes the reader need to know more about this character.

Italian Americans have a long history of being the bad guys in American storytelling, and they fulfill that role there too. Azzarello sprinkles a little bit of The Godfather mafia types on top of a conniving Game of Thrones struggle and the result is as tasty as your Grandma’s Sunday gravy.

Azzarello has this trick with characters too. On first glance, you don’t think there are that many characters, when you are reading the story. But upon reflection, you realize that it’s jam-packed with a plethora of characters. These characters all come alive in a short time, and you can’t help but wonder about them after you’ve flipped the page.

It’s Time to Appreciate Eduardo Risso

The artist, Eduardo Risso, is Azzarello’s longtime creative partner.  Past series like 100 Bullets and Spaceman each have their own unique vibe.  That’s the way it is with Moonshine.  Risso takes the reader deep into the black woods and black hearts of the characters, with his solid renderings and elaborate page layouts.  One could almost imagine Will Eisner looking down from comic creator heaven with arms crossed but approvingly nodding, muttering things like “hey, that page really is something different” or “this guy is innovative”. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a few rants along the lines of “Sonuvagun! I wish I had done that!”

Each issue is a mix of Risso slowing it all down and then slamming his foot hard on the gas. At the same time, Risso takes the reader on a roller coaster POV with high shots, ground level shots and in-the-middle-of-the-action shots. And he, Risso never sacrifices clarity and solid storytelling either.

Risso also maintains control over his color palette. To the reader, the finished pages are like symphonies and Risso is the orchestra leader – he brings each beat of the story together with mindful layouts and clever colors that reinforce the narrative and linger on the reader’s mind long after she or he puts down the book.

The Collected Edition

Azzarello is the type of writer who makes you feel comfortable, and then, out of nowhere, grabs you in a headlock and chokes the familiarity right out of you. You’re gasping for breath, but at the same time, you just want more. I prefer reading a series like Moonshine each month in the traditional comic format, but the collected TPB is perfect when you find yourself as ravenous as the protagonist.

Kudos to this team, and editor Will Dennis for a job well done.  And, to finish this up, let’s get all those Halloween puns out of our system once and for all:

Don’t howl at the moon, give yourself a treat and sink your teeth into a copy of Moonshine Vol. 2!

Preview Review for the week of 10/3/2018: Blackbird #1

Preview Review for the week of 10/3/2018: Blackbird #1

Hey there!  Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

A reminder for you. Here at PopCultureSquad, we are decidedly anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

The book we are previewing this week will be released Wednesday October 3rd 2018. This is one of the books in our hotlist of debut issues for October. You can find the rest of that list here.

Continue reading “Preview Review for the week of 10/3/2018: Blackbird #1”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in October 2018

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in October 2018

We will be giving our readers a preview of the new comic book series that we are looking forward to each month. Here, we compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld.

There is a fairly good cross section of comics to get excited about this month. New interesting series are coming from many different publishers. This list represents a cultivated group of new series that have sparked our interest. Many of these are from some of our favorite writers and artists. Some feature new and up-and-coming talent. Each of these series have something special. It may be the subject matter, lots of magical content just in time for Halloween. Some of these stories are returns to characters that we have not seen in awhile, and we are excited to see how they are revisited.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out.


BLACKBIRD #1
Image Comics
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art: Jen Bartel

An all-new ongoing series from fan-favorite writer SAM HUMPHRIES and red-hot artist JEN BARTEL!

In this neo-noir fantasy, Nina Rodriguez is positive that a secret magic world ruled by ruthless cabals is hiding just beneath the veneer of Los Angeles. The problem: everyone thinks she’s crazy. The bigger problem: she’s not crazy – she’s right. Can she unravel the mystery before the Great Beast catches up with her?

Release Date: Oct 03, 2018

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in October 2018”

Preview Reviews for the week of 9/26/2018: Maneaters; High Heaven

Preview Reviews for the week of 9/26/2018: Maneaters; High Heaven

Hey there!  Welcome to the first installment of Preview Reviews.  We will give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday. Here at PopCultureSquad, we are decidedly anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someones experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, when we have graciously been granted access to some advanced copies of upcoming comics, it raised a question for us. “What do we do with that?”  We have decided to publish this column as necessary on Mondays with mostly spoiler-free reviews of debut issues to upcoming series.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

The following books will be released this Wednesday September 26th 2018. Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the week of 9/26/2018: Maneaters; High Heaven”

Everything We Read This Week – 9/19/2018

Everything We Read This Week – 9/19/2018

In this column, we make a quick trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This is a big week that is full of plenty of good comics. We have reviews for twenty books that came out this week for you. There were some other books that we didn’t even get to yet. It’s a good time to be reading comics.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, its not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

 Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

 

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 9/19/2018”

Brainiac On Banjo #008: Fake Covers

Brainiac On Banjo #008: Fake Covers

Every several years I find a brand-new way to enunciate my firm belief that in order to sell more comic books, publishers should seek to produce better comic book stories and take their feet off of the stunt pedal. Well, it’s time once again to play that great all-American game, To Sell The Truth!

If you are in the habit of memorizing every word I have ever written (please stop that; you’ll hurt yourself!), doubtlessly you recall my ragging on and on about the stunt covers of the mid-1990s. Foil covers, bagged comics, holographic covers, 3D leather embossed covers… a whole lotta gimmicks were in vogue, each for nanoseconds. At least lenticular covers did some good – they taught a lot of people the meaning of the word “lenticular.”  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #008: Fake Covers”