With three more issues of Moth City to go, I am reminded of my watching LOST up to the middle of Season 5, with Season 6 not yet begun. With a plot as intriguing as this, I want to race to the end, watching tragic fate and grim comeuppance exploding all around me.
Reading through this latest installment, the story still feels organic, with many of the players moving toward ends we cannot plainly see, which is a good sign. The pre-WWII time and unique location have much to do with this natural feel; assuming some man-made biological plague doesn’t wipe the island out (ha ha), it would be interesting to see a few more stories cut from this intriguing cloth.
My admiration for writer/illustrator Tim Gibson as a character designer is only tempered by my knowledge of how much actual design work he’s done (a lot). I’ve said it before: none of his characters feel like throw-aways, even if they’re only around for three gruesome panels. They’re always unique, and without waste; personality is conveyed in how they look and move, and what they do. This extends to his art in general, and many of the artistic choices made.
Here’s the deal. I understand that digital comics are extremely rough to work out, and I’m probably not taking a lot of steps into account based on my sheer ignorance of requirements at the end of the day. However, I’m struck by the panel decisions being made at times. Some of the panel transition is beautifully detailed, but sometimes it’s so spare, it leaves important character moments behind. This is a real shame, since Gibson clearly has a passion for lavishing details on the right moment; the moments with Jun and his wife near the end of this issue are suspenseful, touching, and tragic in the span of a hug and a few panels. On the flip side, much of McCaw’s observations are quickly handed to us, a small list of plot points with very little reaction shown on his face; that is, until a wonderful scene starring McCaw, whiskey, and an empty pistol.
Perhaps these story elements are easier to show in a less fluid medium (the ol’ colored paper variety) because of the concrete nature of that very medium. But maybe trying to execute some of these moments in the old way when working in a new medium is part of the problem?
Read Moth City #5. Read it for the story and the gorgeous setting and the little smile on Jun’s wife’s face in the middle of all that horror. Read Moth City, and keep going till the end.
Moth City #5 is on sale October 2nd at Comixology.