The Beguiling has an interesting tactic when it comes to recent back issues – they package a bunch of consecutive issues together and sell them at a discounted price. I find that this is a good way for me to read books from the past few years. One of packages I picked up was The Moth #1-4. I had heard good thing about this, and had always meant to check it out. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this series – it has a great overall feel to it. I am a sucker for painted covers, and it’s nice to see them in the 21st century. At first, the concept of the superhero bounty hunter who co-owns a traveling circus seems fresh, but the more I read, the more I realize it was more of an amalgam of various older concepts. Hey, I dig the circus as much as anyone, but I half expected Johnny Blaze to show up.
Don’t get me wrong – most of what is going on in here is good. I especially like the focus on supporting characters and building up the Moth’s world. These comics really reminded me of Mike Grell’s early days on Green Arrow – and that is a very big compliment coming from me. I was just struck by certain similarities – just the whole overall ‘feel’ of the book. Steve Rude’s artwork is beautiful (natch) and he really seems to be digging the variety of settings and the mixture of dialogue and action. I do have a couple of complaints about the writing, though. The dialogue for the teenage ‘street urchin’ was terrible. When was the last time a 14-year old girl said ‘Rad’? That stuff was cringe worthy and I hope that Gary Martin starts to ask someone to update his dialogue. Secondly, the character of American Liberty is a bit too quick with the perfect one-liners. This is a problem with a lot of today’s film, television and comic books. The rapid-fire banter is fun for a while, but gets pretty stale. I imagine that she will be less one-dimensional once some of the secrets alluded to throughout the book are revealed. Overall, this is a fun series and I’d certainly pick up future issues. The somewhat old school art and storytelling that give the series a warmth that is lacking from many of today’s comics.