The Moon is a new book from small publisher Beyond the Bunker, and caught my eye with its rather interesting premise. Plus, it’s always good to review a British comic. Find out how it fares after the jump!

Writer: Dan Thompson
Artist: Steve Penfold
Colourist*: Ivanna Matilla
Letterer: Steve Penfold
Publisher: Beyond the Bunker
Price: £3.50

A Good Laugh

Our book begins in the year 12 AD, where a group of Celts are attempting to bind the spirit of the moon into mortal form, in order to defend the isle of Albion (that’s Great Britain, in modern terms). The ritual goes a bit awry, and whilst the moon spirit is summoned, it takes the form of a mortal with a human body and a moon for a head. Cut to modern day London, and Moon is an agent of ‘The Agency’ – some British secret service, and he and his partner are attempting to solve a murder that was apparently carried out by a baby. After an heated encounter with a traffic warden, the pair retire to a restaurant, which is then promptly raided by an unknown commando group. Moon’s partner is shot, and our issue ends with Moon himself incapacitated.

It was the premise of this book that piqued my interest in the first place and said premise did, indeed, deliver – I enjoyed how the writer handled the idea of an ancient guardian of the land in the modern day: recruited by and working for the government, thus still fulfilling its duty. Jumping from 12 AD to the modern day also leaves a lot of back-story left to be filled, thus creating some mystery.

This issue keeps a light-hearted tone throughout, a comedic style that still allows one to become invested in some of the drama at play. There are a few funny moments, and I especially liked how the summoning ritual unfolds in a way you would not expect. The story does become a bit more by-the-numbers once we get into the modern day, though, with some jokes along the way, though the mysteries presented during this portion are still interesting enough.

Now, we come to some complaints. First of all, the summoning ritual is described as only able to occur on, “The twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year.” This doesn’t make much sense, seeing as what month and year it is is rather dependent on which calendar you’re using; not only that, but the Celts in Britain at the time definitely wouldn’t have been basing their calendar around our modern year zero – as Christianity didn’t exist yet – so the whole thing going down in 12 AD is rather absurd. Secondly, at the restaurant before the raid, Moon’s partner goes on about how he’s going to take a holiday with his family, one that he’s been promising them for ages etc. I really hope this speech is leading to something in a subsequent issue, because I’d hate to think that this book is trying to play the, ‘Just one more day from retirement,’ thing straight.

I also want to put in some thoughts on Moon as a character, and his limitations as such. First of all, Moon doesn’t speak. This is something of a problem with a main character, as now the audience cannot connect with or find out about the character through what he says, and it’s quite difficult to communicate an entire character through his actions alone, although this issue certainly does make a not-unsuccessful go of it. Whilst this isn’t such an issue now, as all we need to know at this point is the basics of the character, which have been provided to us, I can see it becoming a sizeable problem in the future.

Impressive Art, with some Problems

The art oscillates between being rather good and somewhat average, and it seems to me that some panels have had more attention that others. When the art is good, though, it is most pleasant to look at and reminds me somewhat of the work of Carlos Ezquerra, and when it is average it is just that; it is never particularly bad, though, and overall is very impressive for an indie comic. This is in part, I think, due to the genuinely great colouring job done by Ivanna Matilla; everything in this vein looks very professional and the colouring definitely elevates the overall quality of the book.

There are some problems in the field of sequential art, however. The action sequences can be difficult to follow and, although such a feat is not impossible, one will likely have to look over certain pages several times in order to get a true understanding of what is going on. I also have one very minor nitpick in the art – the commando who shoots Moon’s partner has a silencer on his gun, and I must ask exactly what the point of that is when a commando raid is being conducted in a crowded restaurant – a silencer does not make you more stealthy if you’re shooting someone where people can see you.

The cover is a fairly standard image of our main character running, with a shattering Royal Air Force symbol in the background. It hints at a plot greater than that featured in this issue, and certainly the image of a man’s body with a head of a moon is bizarre enough to warrant some attention from the viewer, but overall it’s a cover that fails to grab me, and I can’t help thinking of it as fairly bland.

Something to Look In To

Overall, this was an interesting read, and to be interesting is something that any new series, especially one from a small publisher, should strive for. The art had its moments, and the writing wasn’t half bad either, extracting a few laughs from me along the way. This is a story that definitely has potential, and its first issue is worth checking out – as such I award it three and a half stars out of five.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Also, please note that at this time you can buy The Moon #1 here.

*It’s so nice to have that word spelt correctly in the book for a change.

The Author

Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter

He spells 'colour' with a 'u' and has the Queen on his money, but Scott Hunter loves pop culture all the same. His first memories of comics are of going down to the local corner shop to buy issues of The Beano and watching the 90s X-Men and Spider-man cartoons. He only recently started reading and collecting comics regularly, but has plunged himself heart and soul into the hobby, bagging and boarding with the best of them. Outside of comics, he enjoys sci-fi (reading, writing and watching), good-bad horror films playing with a brass band. Favourite writers include John Wagner, Alan Moore, Mark Waid, Alan Grant and (in non-comics literature) Philip K. Dick and H.P. Lovecraft. Colin MacNeil, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland and Alex Ross rank among his favourite artists.

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