A slightly underwhelming finale to the carefully curated ethereal mystery and promise writer John Arcudi and artist Valerio Giangiordano cultivated over the last four issue. This reads more like the end of a chapter than the end of a story. Bravo to Arcudi and Giangiordano for this vivid, thoughtful, respectful, effective, well-researched piece of work.
The hardest part in setting up a complex storyline, especially one that mirrors real-world history, is in planting the landing. The reader already has the context so it’s truly something fantastic to be brought into a whole new world, a new mythology, that’s both living in that history’s skin while being something else altogether. Much like the demonic monsters that pose as humans to indulge in some fearsome, deadly playtime during the American Civil War in the series Two Moons.
For the last four issues, writer John Arcudi and artist Valerio Giangiordano have deftly created a storyline of monsters walking amongst men and only the main protagonist Virgil “Two Moons” Morris can see them. It’s a tale that’s heavily researched, respectful of indigenous American mythos and civil war history and imbued with an equal sense of mystery and bombast.
With Two Moons #5, the ‘The Iron Noose’ story arc comes to an end (with a graphic novel collecting issues one through five being released by Image Comics on August 18th). While the issue is a fun read, it’s also a bit of a let down from the careful way Arcudi has cultivated this particular – and peculiar – passion project. If anything, Two Moons #5 feels more like a placeholder for the continuing adventures of the mystical and ferocious Two Moons.
But the biggest disappointment was the woeful handling of the character of the mysterious Irish nurse Frances Shaw.
At one point, she was the most intriguing and enigmatic figure in a story that delved deep into the heart of war and exposing the (literal) monsters that thrive from it. She had the potential to be an explosive presence from the thoughtful and careful way Arcudi built up the fiery mystery around her.
Instead, she finds herself becoming yet another damsel in distress. All of that mood and tempo waylaid in a finale that feels a bit rushed compared to the elegant way the story has unfolded over five issues.
Giangiordano’s work throughout Two Moons is superb; stunning and vibrant, it’s vividly ethereal, lush, and vast. His sense of lighting, movement and detail is rich and electric and Bill Crabtree’s color work here gives Giangiordano’s earthy work a sense of air, even as – apparently — all hell breaks loose.
Ultimately, the story as a whole is effective and memorable and I look forward to seeing where Arcudi will take Two Moons – the book and the character – in future installments.
I also have to give credit where credit is due: Arcudi’s vigilance and care is on full display throughout the entire series. He and Giangiordano created a thoughtful, respectful, well-researched piece of work that’s worth reading — even if there’s a hint of better things to come just over the iron sunset on the horizon.
Two Moons #5 released Jun. 30th, published by Image Comics; written by John Arcudi; art by Valerio Giangiordano; colors by Bill Crabtree; letters by Michael Heisler; cover art by Valerio Giangiordano with colors by Bill Crabtree; cover B art by Roberto Ricci logo design by Drew Grill; design and production by Ryan Brewer.