By Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso

The fifth issue of the new series Moonshine, by legendary collaborators Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, has arrived and the series just keeps getting better and better. A prohibition era period piece about werewolves and gangsters is a clever enough spin to get folks interested, but that premise coupled with the fact that it’s Azzarello and Risso together again makes it hard to go wrong. These two creators proved they could write and draw comics worthy of our attention without superhero level name recognition years ago. Their original series, 100 Bullets, left a mark on the industry in a way that made everyone sit up and take note. Though they’ve both done acclaimed work, Moonshine is further proof that these guys do something truly special when working together.

It’s a gangster story, a southern gothic, and a horror comic all in one. Azzarello writes a poetic story, relying heavily on imagery. The dialogue is boiled down to its essence, to a degree that it isn’t necessarily a decent jumping on point. Oh, a regular comic book reader could appreciate the book, but it’s worth reading the first four issues. The story has peaked in many ways as plots and threads pan out. Azzarello is a renowned comics writer anyway, but here we get the impression he’s that much more in tune with the artist. He gives each scene a sense of authenticity exclusive to this series. Each theme is balanced perfectly for the right effect. Gangster scenes are as genuine as the werewolf stuff and though they each feel distinctly different, you know it’s still the same comic book. The story is a connective tissue for what could easily be separate concepts, but combined make for a more epic quality. Page after page, issue after issue, Moonshine feels like the results of refined shorthand between masters.

Artist and colorist Eduardo Risso is a true storyteller. He creates a dynamic between contrasting shadows and his use of color so that your eye always knows where to rest. Risso handles the big, important moments for maximum impact, but he brings a value to every single panel. His use of space showcases his color choices while creating a sense of magnitude. At times, Risso’s palettes change abruptly, shifting from cool to warm, while occasionally blending for a smoother transition, but only when the time is right. The openness let us register mood and emotion immediately, while also implying a certain depth. In a book like Moonshine, the possibilities are many even if the environment is isolated.

Moonshine is a solid comic book made with true craftsmanship that earned a spot on the new release rack years before the concept was even developed. Once again Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have produced a quality product that deserves to be on your pull list. Their brand of comics remains unique and their stories are as thrilling as ever. Don’t miss this series! Grab the back issues or hold out for the trade, but either way make sure you check out Moonshine.

About The Author Matthew Strackbein

Matt Strackbein was born and raised in Maryland but has called Colorado home for the last 17 years where he lives happily in Longmont with his wife. He began reading comic books at the age of seven after discovering a silver age stash in his grandparents’ attic. Comic books inspired Matt to start drawing, which lead to a successful career as a commercial artist. He has worked in the apparel industry for many years as a production artist and designer. His accomplishments include designing backcountry skiwear for world-class athletes as well as downhill ski race suit designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics for the United States and Canadian national ski teams. Matt currently works as a freelance textile-print designer, but still dedicates time to his first love – comics. With over 200 letters to the editor published, Matt is a known letterhack. He self-publishes autobiographical comics about his struggles to break into the industry, which finally paid off when Dark Horse asked him to produce 2-page back up stories in recent issues of B.P.R.D. Besides his own comics, Matt collaborates on independent books as a colorist and letterer. He also teaches the art of making comics to students of all ages.