by Tim Gibson
There are certainly an extraordinary number of near-hyperbolic words surrounding Moth City since it first became available for public consumption. Tim Gibson was not a familiar name in the industry before this series. Suddenly, Gibson has become a creator to watch, and his series is earning every bit of the praise it has garnered. Issue six closes out the third season, or act, and leads into the grand finale. With only one season left, this story is a fascinating modern tragedy. It is complex and fascinating in a multitude of ways. Since its first moments, Moth City has had a very distinct pace and this chapter is no different.
When the sixth issue opens, the entire situation is nearing a complete collapse. McCaw is approaching a level of desperation that looks to push him beyond anything he has experienced. Jun and his pregnant wife have barricaded themselves in the Docks District to escape the dangers of the metamorphosis that the population is undergoing. Simultaneously, Hong is readying his response. It is impressive how readers experience Moth City in the moment, as it unfolds. Possibly a result of the method that the story is delivered, Gibson does not rely on deception to captivate. Instead, readers remain gripped by the present. It is only when reflecting on the story thus far that it seems so obvious that the present situation was inevitable.
Here, Gibson brings the story to a point of no return. It is fascinating to experience as several moments will elicit a deflation as a result of the unavoidable tragedy of many moments. McCaw is a man driven to a fault with only his own ambitions as a value. When this drive combines with repeated failure he makes a choice that is so horrible, readers are likely to feel its weight and squirm as the sequences unfolds. On the other side of the city, Jun’s hand is similarly forced. Each scenario progresses in a way that leaves the audience frantically hoping to impose their own will upon the story to avoid the darkness and despair that refuses to relent.
The art style that Gibson utilizes on this series is a perfect match for the tone of the story. Mostly closely related to Jeff Lemire’s unconventionally raw technique, the visual dimension of Moth City is every bit a factor of the unsettling nature of the reading experience as the writing. These two dimensions, typical of the comic book medium, are conjoined with the mode by which Gibson has chosen for the presentation of Moth City. As previously mentioned, the control and deliberate choices made with regard to exactly what information is revealed and in what order all play into an amazing level of suspense and tension. It expands the potential of the medium, and is likely to act as the example by which future works are measure.
Moth City is an experience. It finds ways to feel fresh while adopting a very classic story structure. Gibson understands how to script a tale to expand and develop naturally so characters do not merely adopt a dimension simply to reframe previous events. Instead, each person evolves and aspects of their personality are unveiled through circumstance. The mechanical difference is subtle, but the impact is massive and the awareness an author must have to be able to accomplish this is rare. A true storyteller is able to craft multi-dimensional characters and situations rather than simply finding ways to elicit an emotion. This individual can reach such an effect in silence while others must call upon the orchestra to manufacture a response. Gibson is undoubtedly the former. Moth City, as a result is masterful. As this issue concludes, the story as a whole feels very much like a classic tragedy. It is unrelentingly fatalistic and as each conflict converges, readers will be desperate for a conclusion; though it is likely they will experience it through the cracks between their fingers.
[Editor’s Note: You can check out issue #1 for free on ComiXology right here: http://www.comixology.com/Moth-City/comics-series/10390)