Set during Prohibition, and deep in the backwoods of Appalachia, Moonshine #1 tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning and ruthless as any NYC crime boss. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret…a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon.
You might think a backwoods hillbilly moonshiner like Hiram Holt would be in over his head dealing with a slick New York mobster. You’d be wrong. Hiram’s hooch is finer than anything else on the market, he’s got a steel jaw, and is surprisingly savvy when it comes to business. He doesn’t even flinch at throwing an offer back in the face of a big time crime Yankee crime lord. Might have a little something to do with that other thing, the occult part of this offering from the Eisner Award winning creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso.
Brian Azzarello throws us headlong into a pretty messed up situation, where it really isn’t clear if there are any good guys. Pirlo is a crude and tactless alcoholic. Big Joe is a sociopath. Hiram? Yeah. That dude has some issues. Hidden behind that simple, dirty, backwoods hillbilly mask is a brutally cunning confidence and a dark secret the whole series hinges on. This first issue only hints at that secret, but, luckily for you, this series has been out for a minute.
Eduardo Risso pulls up his end with striking and visceral visuals. His weathered characters, landscapes, and distinctive palette sell the script. He uses shadows and silhouettes to great effect. The two settings in this first installment have their own distinct identities, but both feel dark and dangerous.
I’ve been reading and loving Moonshine for a while now. From bottom to top, this thing is brilliant. Even the title is ridiculously clever. Moonshine. Moon. Shine. Come on! If this story has somehow flown under your radar and eluded your pull list, jump on this opportunity to grab Moonshine #1 for just a buck, see what you’ve been missing, and grab the trades post haste to get caught up.
Image Firsts Moonshine #1, published by Image Comics, (re)released 25 April 2018. Written by Brian Azzarello, art and color by Eduardo Risso, letters & design by Jared Fletcher.