Thursday, September 29, 2005

Moth of the Month

The Moth

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.

7 comments:

dan bailey said...

i'm hoping i can find the moth at my lcs when i (knock wood, assuming the schedule holds & i don't have to work) visit there saturday. i'd never even heard of the title till i saw a feature on steve rude & the comic in the new cbg ... your description certainly underscored my interest.

Scott M said...

It was a very good read, Dan. I saw a TPB on the Dark Horse site. It includes the 'Special' which I didn't read. I hope that they continue publishing this series as many issues were left up in the air. I don't know the status, though.

Aaron Kashtan said...

Don't tell the Dude I said this, but I really disliked the Moth and I found it a poor substitute for Nexus. Even the Dude's artwork couldn't save Gary Martin's awful dialogue and his fundamentally boring script. Also, I felt that the first story, from Moth Special #1, was both semi-racist and overly religious.

Scott M said...

Hey Aaron

I can see where you are coming from. It certainly falls below the Nexus standard (at least from the Nexus I've read), but I still found Rude's pencils appealing here and the storyline was good enough that it made me want to see where it was heading (although there was room for improvement-especially the dialogue. That's interesting about Special #1 - I'm almost tempted to track it down to take a look at those aspects you referenced.

Aaron Kashtan said...

Here's a brief summary of why the story is offensive. In the main story of the special, The Moth battles a lion monster that's going around killing people. It eventually turns out that...

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...the monster was summoned by some savage tribesmen in Africa, for reasons which are never explained. In the climax of the story, as the Moth is fighting the monster, the scene switches to Africa. A white priest and a little black boy named Sambo (I kid you not) go and confront the tribesmen, and the priest shouts the name of Jesus. At that moment, the monster becomes lifeless.

The African tribesmen are presented as savage, heartless and uncivilized; they summon this awful monster apparently for no reason other than to kill people. And the priest defeats the monster by invoking Jesus, which, I guess, proves that his god can beat up their god.

Joe Rice said...

Sounds good to me. I remember liking the story.

dan bailey said...

>>a little black boy named Sambo (I kid you not)<<

that's funny ... in my copy, it's samMo. i guess one of us has an ultra-rare variant.

anyway, just wanted to mention that i finally managed to pick up all the issues (my lcs had only #4) yesterday at a shop about 50 miles from here & will be reporting my impressions once i've read 'em. i did read the double-sized special a couple of hours ago & liked it quite a bit.