Tag Archives: Brian Azzarello

Moonshine #13

Moonshine #13

Moonshine #13
Image Comics
Writer: Brian Azarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
FC, 32 pgs, $3.99 US

Moonshine could have ended at issue #6. All the plot threads were not neatly tied off, but it was a satisfying final issue to the debut story arc. Moonshine eventually returned for another six issues and when #12 hit it once again felt like the creative team could walk away feeling proud and I could walk away feeling like the story had a conclusion. Again, not everything wrapped up in a bow but some of the best stories don’t have tidy endings so I never sweat the small stuff. And now as of last week, Moonshine is back for another arc and I’m confident I’ll settle in nicely, enjoy the ride, and get back out feeling satisfied.

In Prohibition era America, a New York mob boss sends a hood into the Appalachian mountains to cut a deal with a moonshiner whose booze is a hot ticket in the city’s clubs. The mob boss wants control, see, because the moonshine is cutting into his own booze business. The moonshiner and his clan are just as tough and stubborn as the mob and so, of course, the two groups don’t get along.

And there’s werewolves.

That sounds ridiculous and looking at a slew of online opinions suggests readers have either embraced or completely rejected this genre mash-up. Me, I’m all in, of course, because creators Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are cool hands at creating big personalities, juggling large casts, and playing within the defined rules of genres even as they upturn the applecart. They created 100 Bullets, a title that took a simple question and turned it into an epic featuring at least a dozen central characters, all damaged and multi-faceted, all racing toward a tragic and inevitable conclusion. 100 Bullets is a character driven crime comic that has not yet been equaled in scope. They also created Spaceman, a hard sci-fi in the guise of a crime tale about a kidnapping. So when I read that Azzarello and Risso were doing a new comic about Prohibition, gangsters and werewolves, I did not hesitate for a second.

Moonshine is populated with tropes of the grittiest crime stories. Tough talk, threats through body language, dangerous dames, tommy gun ambushes, double crosses. It also has werewolf staples like moonlit transformations, the reluctant beast, and the troubled beauty. It also has some elements unique to the creative team: Azzarello’s terse, stripped down dialogue; his irredeemable yet engaging characters; Risso’s character designs with tired, sorrowful (or angry) eyes for the men; full, sinful lips and figures for the women; dark palette for colours; and key scenes that are worthy of hanging on a wall.

Moonshine is pulp. Delicious, nasty pulp. (Chad Boudreau)

Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place

Sgt RockSgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place
DC Comics / Vertigo
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Joe Kubert

FC, 144 pgs, $24.95 US / Higher in Canada

One of the most consistently talked about and read comic series in the last 50 years has been Sgt. Rock from DC Comics. Along with The Unknown Soldier and G.I. Combat, the three titles had been printed in various forms during the 50s and down through the 80s. Most people can remember reading a Sgt. Rock comic when they were a kid, carrying their beat-up copies around and sharing them with their friends. But since DC’s war line ended in the mid-80s, most of the characters within those books faded into obscurity, popping up now and again in unlikely places like the 90s The Demon (with the “Haunted Tank of G.I. Combat” fame by Garth Ennis!). Continue reading Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place

Batman: Broken City

Batman: Broken CityBatman: Broken City
DC Comics
(w) Brian Azzarello
(a) Eduardo Risso

FC, 144 pgs,  $24.95 US / Higher in Canada

Broken City began with a surefire strategy– take the award-winning team behind the critically acclaimed 100 Bullets, and apply their talents to the world’s greatest detective. Look past the hype, however, and while the result is an impressively edgy and dark Batman tale, it’s one that feels strangely out of place within the title’s continuity.

The murder of a small-time criminal’s sister has set into motion a citywide investigation on both sides of the law. But when a young boy’s parents are murdered in the confusion, the Dark Knight takes it personally, and the streets of Gotham become a hunting ground in the Caped Crusader’s unstoppable quest for vengeance. Continue reading Batman: Broken City

First Wave #1

First Wave #1
DC Comics
(w) Brian Azzarello
(a) Rags Morales
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US / Higher in Canada

After completing one hundred issues of his creator owned 100 Bullets, the first new series writer Brian Azzarello has decided to work on is this project called First Wave. Azarello has taken licensed legendary pulp novel character Doc Savage and mixed him in a world with a gun toting Batman (who is standing in for The Shadow), Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Rima the Jungle Girl, The Black Hawks, and Black Canary.

The time seems to be a few years after WWII and Doc Savage’s father has just died. Doc missed the funeral while away on business and has just recently returned. Meanwhile, a corrupt Chief Dolan tips off The Spirit about something going down at the docks. This Spirit is different than Eisner’s and the recent comic and movie reincarnations. He’s still closer to Eisner’s version than he has been of late. The main plot seems to be about some evil scientist doing some sort of experiments on a jungle island. The mystery is intriguing and it will even more interesting to see how everybody fits into the story.

Rags Morales’ art is perfect for this story and it has nice clean look to it. It’s good to see Doc Savage back in comics form and it’s also good to see The Spirit return, especially after his crappy movie bombed. This series looks promising and I can’t wait to see what the Doc Savage and new The Spirit series are going to be like, which are spinning out of this mini-series. (Shane Hnetka)