This week Werewolves get into the Bootleggin’ business in Moonshine, and Jessica Jones returns to comics!
Moonshine #1 (Image Comics)
Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso made quite the team when they created 100 Bullets, and now with their new Image series Moonshine they’re hoping to recapture some of that magic again. A Prohibition era werewolf series, Moonshine’s debut issue has what it takes for another cool ongoing series, even if it takes a little too long to get the plot moving.
Moonshine focuses on Lou Pirello, the main enforcer for mob boss Joe Masseria. Looking to increase his hold on the illegal alcohol making its way into New York City, Masseria has gotten word of a new batch of moonshine being made in Virginia by Hiram Holt, and wants Pirello to go and “convince” Holt to allow Masseria to be his supplier. Pirello, being the good company man that he is, heads down to Virginia, but when he gets to Holt’s home deep in the woods he starts to notice strange behavior among Holt’s kids. And when Holt brings Pirello to the location of a bunch of mutilated FBI agents, ones that look more like they were ripped apart by animals than gunned down by machine guns, Pirello starts to question just what is going on in those woods.
Brian Azzarello plays up the mob prohibition angle pretty heavy in the issue, and that actually works really well, as it allows him to slowly build to the werewolf stuff that’s to come later in the series. Sure, there’s a quick scene at the beginning to grab your attention, but by and large this reads more like a mob story with a touch of something otherworldly going on instead of werewolves dressed as mobsters. Azzarello also has a great gift for dialogue and characterization, and Moonshine #1 has this in spades. From the first few pages you know these characters will stay with you.
Eduardo Risso’s work in 100 Bullets and Dark Night: A True Batman Story is proof that he’s a fantastic artist, and his work in Moonshine is another worthy addition to his bibliography. If Azzarello’s script is the mood set-up, Risso’s art is the home run. His panels are dark and foreboding, bringing a great sense of creepy atmosphere to Pirello’s trip to Virginia. The members of the Holt clan are all distinct and odd as well, and while we don’t see his werewolves full on, the shadows that they draw make them seem truly monstrous.
Moonshine couldn’t have come at a better time of the year, and while it doesn’t have quite as much monster action as the pitch would have you believe, there’s still plenty to like in this issue. With any luck, we could have the start of the next 100 Bullets. If not, this is a story mixing the mob with werewolves, which is still pretty damn cool.
Jessica Jones #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s safe to say that Jessica Jones has a much larger profile now than ever before. After the huge award-winning Netflix show last year, you’d expect Marvel to put out a series in time for that show, or at least soon afterwards. However, we’re now a year out, and we’re just now getting a new Jessica Jones series. While original creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos are back for this new series, Jessica Jones’ current life is a far cry from what was on TV last year. Can this new series serve as the bridge between the Netflix fans and comics?
Perhaps, though I won’t be surprised if new readers are confused. As I said before, the Jessica Jones in this series is VERY different from the one we saw on the TV screen. Hell, she’s different from the last time Bendis and Gaydos teamed up to tell her story in Alias and The Pulse. When we meet Jessica in this opening issue, she’s just released from jail, and everyone, from Jessica Drew to her husband Luke Cage, is looking for her, and more importantly, her daughter. Do we find out the mystery by issue’s end?
Nope. But luckily Brian Michael Bendis has a proven track record of paying off mysteries before on the original Jessica Jones series Alias. While nothing in this series quite matches up with what we know of the current Marvel universe (especially in Luke Cage’s Power Man & Iron Fist), the mystery is still intriguing. What could cause Jessica to all of the sudden ditch her responsibilities?
Brian Michael Bendis gets right back into the groove with Jessica Jones, and even though there’s a few less swear words this time around, it’s nice to see Bendis getting back to his strengths again. Jessica is arguably the best character that he writes, and there’s no better person to handle her than Bendis. The second that old Jones dialogue started up, I was hooked.
I haven’t seen much of Michael Gaydos’ work recently, but it’s refreshing to see that like Bendis, he also has no trouble jumping back into Jessica’s world. You could easily put a page from this issue next to any issue of Alias and not be able to tell the difference. Gaydos’ style remains unchanged by the passage of time, and that’s something that I’m very happy about, as I was expecting Marvel to pressure Gaydos into making Jessica look more like Kristen Ritter.
While it’s jarring seeing so much of the current Marvel Universe in Jessica Jones, it’s nice to have the character back and fronting her own series again. While I was late to the party on Alias, I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite comic books of all time, so having a monthly dose of Jones is going to be pretty cool. Sure, there’s some weird work arounds for trying to explain why Jessica is now starting to get back to her old ways, but much of Jessica Jones #1 feels a lot like the old Alias series, and anything that reminds me of that is worth a shot.