By Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
The wait is over! Fan-favorite collaborators Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso reunited for the first time since the conclusion of their original series 100 Bullets. One look at the first page of their latest effort and readers will feel right at home in both writing and art. From cover to cover this new book from Image Comics, Moonshine, is everything readers crave from these two creators, who are clearly still at the top of their game. Gritty dialogue, dark shadowy landscapes, guns and gangsters, are merely the elements of the trademark style these guys are known to provide. It’s more than just assembling the correct pieces, you also have to be able to curate them appropriately to make the story stand out, and that’s what Azzarello and Risso do so well. Even better, this particular series cranks the dial up a notch toward the supernatural, bringing an all-new flavor to their traditionally street crime approach to comic book storytelling.
It’s a period piece — “the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Nine”– and takes place during a time when Federal agents made it a priority to actively pursue illegal stills and bootleggers. In Moonshine the friction between agents and criminals is packed with colorful vocabulary, action and character development. As mentioned, this is what fans love about Azzarello and Risso and it’s as good as ever. The panel arrangements are done so professionally that the pages are as legible as they are enjoyable. With heavy inks and moody color palettes, Risso creates scenery and costumes that bring the story to life in a believable environment, but it still feels like a comic book. That is a very good thing. Azzarello creates a layered story that feels planned out without coming across as overly structured. The considered approach here may be proof enough that all of the folks behind this book are motivated by more than just churning out some product in order to satisfy demand…they, seemingly, want to create within the medium and they enjoy doing it. Think of how easy it would be to sell a title with this kind of name recognition, then forget about that and take comfort in the fact that Azzarello and Risso are still challenging themselves creatively. And without sacrificing the things they do so well together already.
The story is moody and dark, and there’s no shortage of bloody dismemberment, but that’s all you should know going into it. You’ll wish it wasn’t over so quickly, but that’s not because there’s a lack of substance. In fact the world crafted in Moonshine, even in the just one issue, is so well-rounded you might mistake it for an adaptation of real life events…right up to the aforementioned supernatural bits, and then you remember it’s a good ol’ comic book. Moonshine packs a punch and is no doubt determined to deliver more of the goods with future installments. Powerful drama and shocking horror are woven together into a great premise and an even better story. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan as it is, but then a thing like this book comes along and you can’t help but be grateful. Fans of 100 Bullets are sure to rejoice, but if you need more convincing then just grab this first issue and see for yourself what you might’ve missed.
Moonshine #1 will be released on October 5th from Image Comics