This third volume in Image Comics Moonshine: Rue le Jour continues the sordid bloody affair gangster Lou Pirlo started in the first two entries. This volume takes Lou and his lover Delia out of the Appalachian woods, and down to the bayous of New Orleans, swapping the werewolf-on-werewolf fights for some Santeria witchcraft and soul bargaining.
But before delving into this newest volume’s review, here’s a recap of the story so far. Volume 1 introduces Lou Pirlo, an alcoholic mobster sent by his boss to the Appalachians. Looking to secure the local moonshine to send back to prohibition-era New York, Lou quickly runs into trouble with the Holt family and patriarch Hiram Holt. Getting close to Hiram’s daughter Tempest, Lou is infected with the werewolf curse. After savagely murdering a bunch of his fellow mobsters while in werewolf form, Lou is stabbed by Delia in the forest while Tempest watches on. Volume 2: Misery Train picks up with Delia and a recovering Lou train-hopping, on the run from the Holts and the mob. Lou is arrested, then makes his escape from a prison chain gang after another bloody werewolf sequence that leaves few survivors. Misery Train culminates in another shootout with monster hunter L’ago killed and Tempest shown shot multiple times in the chest. Lou then makes his way to Delia in New Orleans, hinting at a desire for a cure to his sickness.
At the start of Rue le Jour, Lou is in need of dire help, so Delia takes him to her fellow Santeria witches, seeking a way to cure him of the curse. Alternately calling the two women sisters and mothers, Delia clearly respects and trusts them even while the women plot behind her back to bring her back into the Santeria fold. Delia must end up choosing love or her coven’s wishes in an arc heavily focused on the expectations of others. And why is Lou acting so much angrier than he ever did before? Is something more than the werewolf curse at play?
Brian Azzarello does a fair job of creating new stakes and storylines here, playing off character development of Delia into a more confident woman and showing Lou’s increasing rage and instability. But, I still run into this issue with some of the stereotyping of the 1940s era present in the plotline. While the character of Jean-Baptiste knowingly winks at these stereotypes and uses them, it just feels slightly off reading dialogue laden with “Yes Sah, Yes Sah” in a few issues. That being said, the plot feels a lot tighter than the first two volumes, as if the springboard of the opening arc was intended to get to this New Orleans set piece all along.
Eduardo Risso’s art features a lot of heavy lines, big lips, and hard edges here that are reminiscent of Frank Miller’s art style. If you like the noir/pulp era-infused style of art then you may really like this, but I did not. Add to this the use of mostly five colors throughout the book and it felt like I was reading something much older than what it was. However, as this comic is aimed at mature readers, the art could appeal to those adults who grew up with the ‘grittier’ comics of the late 80s and 90s.
Image publishes comics for every age range, but as clearly indicated on the back, this book is for mature readers. This age rating matches up with the content and I would rate it 18 and up. If you were placing this in a library, I would categorize it as “Adult Graphic Novel.” There is a lot of gore and dismemberment, nudity, and language so it earns that mature rating.
I’d recommend this book to the gory and violent comic fans such as fans of the Walking Dead, or those who like the older Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale era of comics. If you are coming to this simply as a fan of werewolves, you may want to look elsewhere, as this is definitely more of a crime fiction drama than a supernatural monster tale.
This standard size graphic novel contains issues 13-17 of the ongoing Moonshine series.
Moonshine, vol. 3: Rue Le Jour
By Brian Azzarello
Art by Eduardo Risso
Publisher Age Rating: M (18+)
Series ISBNS and Order
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)