Thursday, January 24, 2008

Legend of Joe Moon #0 - A Review

The Legend of Joe Moon Written by Gonzalo Ventura Art by Manuel Silva & Leonardo Silva

Lee: As a rule, I read lots of indie type books. Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they’re not. But usually, they all need some work to become “polished”. And by polished, I mean, a story that is fairly straightforward AND art that has both good figure rendering and composition. I think of polished as being equivalent to Image or even Dark Horse.

This is the first small publisher book I consider that polished. This easily could have been under the Image imprint. The story is simple and too the point. Cowboy with mysterious past kills bad guys and saves girl. SIMPLE!

I have two minor quibbles with the story. First, Ventura uses the tired rape cliché to show how ‘bad’ the bad guys are. The violence against women for the sake of violence gets old and I feel that it could have been accomplished is a less extreme manner. People seem to forget there is a small portion of comic fandom composed of women and a violent middle such as this one runs the risk of alienating them.

My other quibble on the plot is the generic nature of it. As we have said before, it’s ok to go generic, but you better have really good execution. And, oh la la, this book executes in spades! There are hints about a trouble youth, the standard drinking to hide a guilty conscience, and a good ending leaving the story open for more things. Honestly, at the end, I wanted more. I only wish the story weren’t so short. It clocks in at 16 pages and I really wanted the extra six pages.

The art was really good too. After reading, I wondered if the Silva brothers hadn’t worked in comics before because the art was that good. Turns out they have worked on Argentinean comics such as El Laucha, Cazador, Mutant Generation Comic y Bastión. There isn’t much to say here other than it’s really nice with a clean, fluid style. It’s good stuff.

Overall: A-.

Jim: I have to say I was impressed. As Lee has said once you start reading and doing reviews of various small press books you have a certain pre-conceived notion of what you are going to see and read. Many efforts show signs of youth and/or inexperience. I also expect it to take a few pages to get into flow of the book and maybe adjust to the odd perspectives or raw work some artists display. This story was an easy read with a straight forward story. It immediately draws you into the story of Joe Moon and then establishes the premise of the story. Joe Moon is a bounty hunter of the old west, who is also a werewolf.

In this opening act Joe goes after two bad guys who have robbed a town and taken a woman and are raping her. I'm going to agree with Lee again, that I understand we need to establish that these two guys are truly bad people, but the book did not need to have an actual rape scene being shown. Insinuation would have been enough. I have grown tired of the misogynist tendencies that this scene implies.

Otherwise I thought that the art was very well done and has a fluid style and dramatic touch that carried off the story very well. The plot was generic in certain elements, but it is all about whether a story is told well or not and this was well done.

Check out the link and buy this book, if you enjoy a good western and are willing to accept a supernatural twist, you will enjoy your investment.

Overall Grade B

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