Night Moves #1 Review

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Meet Chris Dundee, grifter and friend of prostitutes, as he becomes embroiled in an investigation of a bizarre religious cult in Night Moves #1.

Night Moves #1NIGHT MOVES #1

Writers:  VJ Boyd and Justin Boyd
Artist: Clay McCormack
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letters: Shawn DePasquale
Editor: David Hedgecock
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: November 21st, 2018
Price: $3.99

Previously in Night Moves:  Grifter Chris Dundee bites off more than he can chew when he sidles up to pretty but pert off-duty Detective Rohm and then finds himself in a firefight in a bar with three fallen priests.  Before you can say holy Moses, he’s caught up in a conspiracy involving a blood-drinking gang lord, Rutger Smalenski, and renegade priests of the Brotherhood of the Anti-Davidians.  And that’s just the start of it…

CRAWL BEFORE YOU CAN WALK

Night Moves #1 is a fun book involving some of my favorite genre tropes – criminals and the occult.  If you read enough of noted horror writer, Laird Barron, you’ll get plenty of that – hard men living hard lives facing down the denizens of the night.

The issue opens in forty years from our present day, with an older Chris Dundee regaling a neighborhood kid with tales of his disreputable youth, particularly a woman in a photo he keeps on his side table.  This is a bit of a missed opportunity – if you are using Las Vegas as your setting, then setting the story back in the late 1970s is a goldmine that has gone begging, with the fashion, the swagger and the dirty feel of that era.

Nonetheless, Chris Dundee finds himself chatting up an off-duty police detective, name of Rohm.  Soon enough, after some typical noir back and forth, they find themselves facing off against a group of shotgun-wielding priests, who denounce the barflies as Sons of Satan, deserving of the righteous punishment about to descend on them.  Little do they know that Dundee and Rohm are packing heat, and in short order, the priests are laid low.  And that isn’t the strangest thing to happen in the bar; in a locked basement, our duo find a group of entranced men, each wearing grotesque demonic masks.

As he has killed one of the priests, and also because he knows the contact, Sophia Running-Bear, Rohm was wanting to speak too, Dundee is unwillingly roped into the investigation.  His street smarts come to the fore here, as the detectives luck out on meeting both Running-Bear, and like gang lord, the improbably named Rutger Smalenski (who’s reputed to have drunk the blood of a former squeeze).

With Smalenski on the lam, the detectives and Dundee track down the Church of the Anti-Davidians.  Much to the (improbable) shock of the priest, they uncover a hidden temple beneath the altar, where the severed heads of dozens of priests are piled up about an unholy shrine.

JUST GETTING STARTED

Night Moves #1 feels very much like an issue setting up for the long haul.  The first three pages of the issue feel a little superfluous, as they could’ve been better used in the body of the story, relieving some of the pressure of the exposition.  That said, the writers have created an appealing pairing with Dundee and Rohm (whose name only appears in the framing device and never in the actual story), with Dundee’s smoothness matching nicely with the more prickly Rohm.

The story itself is interesting.  At this point in genre history, there’s plenty of crime stories that mesh nicely with the occult (with the movie Angel Heart being a prime example) as both genres lurk in the shadows of respectability.  The Boyds don’t do anything spectacular or outside our expectations with the narrative, but it is appealing because it is what we have come to expect.

I struggled a little with the art initially, as its looseness wasn’t what I was expecting, but after a second read, I’ve come to really enjoy Clay McCormack’s work.  All the faces have a lived-in feel that more precise line work would’ve eliminated.  As I said earlier, not setting this story forty years ago means that McCormack doesn’t get to play in that era, which his style I think would’ve admirably suited.

BOTTOM LINE – POTENTIAL, IF IT DOESN’T GO TO WASTE

Night Moves #1 sets up the storyline to come.  There’s a lived in quality to the characters and the writing, which makes it easy for the reader to settle in.  It’s really important now that the next few issues take the ball and run ahead, and not get bogged down in more scene setting.  There’s a great deal to like with this opening issue, and I really hope it finds an appreciative audience.  There’s the potential here for something great.

 

Night Moves #1

60%
60%
Potential

Night Moves #1 sets up the storyline to come. There’s a lived in quality to the characters and the writing, which makes it easy for the reader to settle in. It’s really important now that the next few issues take the ball and run ahead, and not get bogged down in more scene setting. There’s a great deal to like with this opening issue, and I really hope it finds an appreciative audience. There’s the potential here for something great.

  • Writing
    6
  • Art
    6
  • Coloring
    6
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About Author

Romantic. Raconteur. Kangaroo rustler. Sadly, Rob is none of these. Rob has been a follower of genre since at least the mid-1970s. Book collector, Doctor Who fan, semi-retired podcaster, comic book shop counter jockey, writer (once!) in Doctor Who Magazine and with pretensions to writing fantasy and horror, Rob is the sort of fellow you can happily embrace while wondering why you're doing it. More of his maudlin thoughts can be found at his ill-tended blog https://robertmammone.wordpress.com/

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