Review – Two Moons Vol 1: The Iron Noose
In the Middle of the Horrors of the Americal Civil War
Young Soldier Virgil Morris discovers that he can’t leave his Pawnee origins behind him. Visited by ghosts and visions he learns that the war is not the worst evil he and his new friend, nurse Frances Shaw, face. Together – and apart – Frances and Virgil combat madness and hell itself.
Writer: John Arcudi
Virgil awakes in his tent, a ghostly apparition rousing him from his sleep. He draws his knife… but is greeted by the friendly face of Corporal Levon. welcoming him to another morning in the American Civil War.
He is sent to a nearby infirmary to fetch some supplies and comes face to face with his Grandfather who leaves him a cryptic message “Iron. Only Iron”. Before he has time to ponder what this could mean he’s startled by Frances Shaw. an empathetic nurse who seems to have a soft spot for Virgil and is shocked by the horrors the men she cares for face on the battlefield.
Throughout this volume, Virgil must reconnect with his Pawnee heritage, realising that in this war, there is more to fear than men.
John Arcudi is not new to the supernatural, as a co-writer for the B.P.R.D series with Mike Magnolia. His pedigree shows as the story unfolds, featuring many twists and turns as we follow Virgil (or Two Moons as he was named by his Pawnee parents) on his journey through the American Civil war. The dialogue and characters are believable which helps round the characters to be likeable and loathsome depending on the aim. Although I’m not usually a fan of accents portrayed in text, Arcudis use of this isn’t distracting and doesn’t hinder the clarity when applied.
The horror is a slow burn, getting progressively darker with each issue. The primary focus is on Two Moons and his descent into what he expects is madness as monsters hidden in plain sight are revealed. Psychological mixed with body horror and good old fashioned monsters, this book was fun from beginning to end.
Artist: Valerio Giangiordano, Colours: Bill Crabtree
This book has a style reminiscent of old cowboy movies which fit the overall aesthetic of the setting. Characters are recognisable, expressive and realistic, contrasting well with some of the monsters revealed throughout. This edge towards realism makes the more gore centric panels all the more unsettling and effective.
Valerio is at his best when designing monsters of the story. He opts to flex his creativity by making each creature unique and not adhering to a particular mould. To keep things spoiler-free I’ll just say that the Coyote spirit looks incredible. I skipped back to these panels for a second look, taking in any small details I had missed the first time around and boy were there a lot!
The colours throughout help make everything pop and all things considered this is an incredibly colourful horror book! Crabtree adds the finishing touches to particularly nasty scenes of violence and viscera, keeping things bright and clear enough to distinguish a flying eyeball from a falling tooth.
I had planned to read this book over a few days but was drawn right in and read it all in one sitting! This is a great book with a concept that’s great in theory and amazing in its execution.
The horror of Two moons is subtle in its tension and violent in its reveal. Arcudi and Giangiordano are a team worth watching! The American Civil War isn’t a setting commonly explored in the genre and is a welcome change of pace.
I’ll admit it. This book wasn’t on my radar but I’ll be keeping an eye out for volume 2 when the time comes!
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