Number one issues can be tricky. The writer needs to set a world, give compelling characters and leave with something to come back around for the next installment. All within the confines of 32 pages.
Bad Moon Rising has some elements that intrigue, but unfortunately get lost in the shuffle because there are too many plot points in this first issue. The book opens with American soldiers trapped in Vietnam, only to be saved by one of them turning into a werewolf. Truthfully, you could do a whole series on that alone and it would have been compelling and interesting. After finishing Bad Moon Rising, I am not even sure that has anything to do with the plot moving forward because there were 3 more story lines crammed into this single issue. There is a story of fringe science doctor who sees ghosts and is desperately trying to get law officials to believe him. There is a story of a biker gang who have some sort of connection to wolves, although the connection itself is unclear. And then there is a story of what sets up to be the main character of the series, a guy who ran away to the city, leaving his small town behind, and is back due to an animal attack on his father that killed him. That is all in one issue. These elements could work together, but the story execution felt flat and rushed and never let any of these characters develop and breathe, or give the reader a real reason to care about any of them.
One thing to really give credit to this issue is on the art layout. Newer and smaller publishers really tend to stick to a simple grid format of storytelling and it was a pleasant surprise to see the creative team work with a much wider scope of formats that moved the story along and kept the reading engaging by changing the format depending on how the story needed to be told. There is some real talent in that and something that is missing from a lot of the horror comics that are published on a monthly basis.
The art in the rest of the book is all over the map. There are a lot of misplaced shadows and odd coloring choices. The line work also seems to be really thick in some places and pencil thin in others. I was a bit surprised to find that the artist, Ty Dazo, has had success working for the largest comic publishers. Looking back over the credits, there were three different colorists on this single issue. That could be the determining factor on the inconsistencies of art throughout the book. In today’s comic market, that seems to be the norm, with monthly double shipped, big 2 comics. But for an indie publisher, it is odd to have that many in one book.
Overall, this book is fine. The couple elements that I liked – the Vietnam angle and the art layouts – warrant another chance on this series for issue #2.
Ratings: 2.5 out of 5