Digital Ash 12/4/2013: The Brutality of Moth City, the Silliness of Xeno TripA comic review article by: Daniel Elkin, Jason Sacks
Moth City #6
I keep coming back to Tim Gibson's Moth City as there keeps being more to say about it, which is a testament to its conception as much as its execution. Issue six of this eight issue series has just hit the digital "stands" (as it were), and this one had me choking as it wrapped its fingers across my throat. Moth City has been a brutal series. As it careens towards its conclusion, though, the depravity of its brutality becomes far more than just two words with a nice end rhyme. When the acts of the living are more horrifying than those of the undead, you're treading on some thick moral carpet. Perhaps it is lime green shag and it hasn't been vacuumed in awhile. You don't expect me to sleep on that do you? I have allergies, and I fear what is certainly sloughed off therein.
As a storyteller, Gibson continues to demonstrate his command of his medium and his unique digital niche therein. His story unfolds like the linen your grandmother kept on the top of the closet for the “good guests”, creased but special, important and soft, tough but lace delicate.
There's the requisite action here, but this is really not an action comic, and, to be honest, Gibson draws a lousy fight scene. What propels Moth City #6 are the jarring moments when people do unspeakable things to those they hate, but more so, to those they love.
“You were never going to leave, Glitter. You don't have what it takes to make the hard decisions.”
It's chilling what the main character does in the name of protecting what is his. It's a step into maddens, surely, but if the world you inhabit has already blown up bat-shit crazy, then taking this step is the only way to move forward. It's a dance, as it were, and Gibson is playing one hell of a beat.
In this issue, Gibson really wants to put the focus on the character Jun, an infected who is trying to protect his family, but here the story expands and travels roads we've seen on the maps your dad kept in the glovebox – you know they exist, you just haven't had the balls to go sightseeing yet. The true emotional center of this book is the character of McCaw, who has been traveling down his own highway throughout this series, and it's a route that grows darker and darker with each passing moment.
Gibson may be suggesting that it is the savage and merciless who are the only ones who can accomplish anything in a morally relativistic world. Single-mindedness and the gumption to do anything to justify means to cement ends are valued in a world where we are all eating each other alive.
Like I said, this series doesn't tread lightly.
So take a ride down to this Moth City. The grass ain't green and nothing is pretty.
You can purchase Moth City #6 on Comixology. And if you are new to the series, Gibson is now offering Moth City #1 for free – and who doesn't like free comics?
- Daniel Elkin
Xeno Trip #1
(Quinton Miles / Daniele Cosentino / Giulia Piori)
Oh good morning, young hero. How did you sleep with your lover after a long night of passion? What's that you say? You don't remember that beautiful woman with skin like a frog who awakens you with a satiated smile? You don't recall this odd and beautiful kingdom in which you woke up, have no idea who those guards are who you rush past, on your way to what looks like a window – but actually faces onto a crowd of thousands of people cheering at the sight of you, screaming "All hair Sir Mix-a-Lot! "Glory to the King!" in a language that you kinda sorta understand?
If you're guessing that I chose a much lighter digital comic to review this week than my pal Daniel's trip into the glorious misery of Moth City, you're exactly right. If Moth City is a Scorcese movie, Xeno Trip is a Mel Brooks movie: a little risqué, a lot silly and a hell of a lot of fun.
I had a wonderful time visiting the crazy world that writer Quinton Miles and artist Daniele Cosentino set up. It's a classic frog out of water tale (see what I did there?) with a slacker hero as its center and a group of small mysteries in the background, tantalizing and taunting the reader with their charmingly off-the-wall attitude. Who is this guy who's become both the king and the main general of the army of these frog creatures? Why can't he recall anything? Will he rise to the occasion in battle, become a leader to creatures or men, or will he hop away, green with fear? What is this world and why is there a war? Most importantly, does any of this matter when we all know in this media savvy world that the laughs that we have along the way are equally as important as reaching our destination?
Hey, this digital comic has a charming, light tone and the art is wonderful for this kind of story. The team does some clever things with guided view technology that help to add it providing a fun beat and meter to this goofy journey that helps it display its strong comedy chops for all to see. And Xeno Trip #1 is only 99¢ on Comixology, which is a nice bargain.
This series treads really lightly and contains a story that gets lighter with every passing moment. Yeah, it's the opposite of Moth City but it's equally as worth reading.
- Jason Sacks