Review - Moon Girl #1-2

Some could argue that the death of Human Torch is somewhat poignant. With him, Captain America, Batman and even Superman dying a while back it seemed there was a push to kill off the classic comic book heroes. They weren't quite pulp heroes necessarily, but they've been around the proverbial comic history block a few times to be viewed as stalwarts of comics. Pulp comics in general have sort of died off since then, but a new book from Red 5 Comics seeks to reinvigorate the genre (albeit slightly): Moon Girl.

Moon Girl is an original creation by Gardner Fox of E.C. Comics from the 1940s and was credited with shaping the company's sci-fi and horror direction. The new version is written by Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, illustrated by The Rahzzah and lettered by Gabe Bautista. Trov has been quoted as saying that the original Moon Girl “dealt with really interesting themes about identity, ideology and post-war society" and the first two issues definitely have that feel. In it, Clare Lune is a princess who fights crime under the guise of Moon Girl, granted powers by a moon rock. These powers are used for justice, but she quickly finds out that not everyone perceives justice the same way.

The United States in Moon Girl is still living in the shadow of World War II and the character represents a movement tired of World War II corporatism and conformity. The character is vying to live a life beyond her role as champion of the counter-culture and social revolution. As such, she's taken up a position as a nurse at Bellvue Hospital and is content with helping those that need help. Desperate to escape her role as Moon Girl she's content with the world figuring itself out on its own, until she realizes that she's inadvertently created a legion of followers fighting her fight without her ideals.

The first issue has her facing off against Satana to start, a sultry foe connected to Clare as her previous mentor. It opens up with a frantic battle between the two, set against the backdrop of 1954 New York. Satana is committed and Clare questions her role as Moon Girl in addition to a slew of other things. Thing number one worth questioning? What's the deal with the new plague attacking the city? Moon Girl learns the plague comes courtesy of a new villain called the Sugar Plum Fairy. The issue ends with a fight just as frantic as it opened with and Moon Girl learning that Sugar Plum Fairy is a fanatic follower of her hers, perverting her ideals into something disfigured.

The second issue is a lot of Clare's backstory. It's clear she has a past with Satana and even fled Eastern Europe nearly 16 years prior to escape the legacy. As Moon Girl she's held to a certain standard and she consistently needs to speak with Satana for guidance. It's a little unfair to make this comparison (since Moon Girl predates the comparison character) but Moon Girl/Clare is very similar to Spider-man/Peter Parker. She realizes she has this great power but is reluctant about using it because she sees what's happening. Her role as Moon Girl has galvanized individuals to fight her fight with their own forms of justice. The second issue ends with another vigilante, revering Moon Girl and imparting her brand of justice.

I really like the story that Trov and Zito have crafted here and think it does work well overall, although it's a little uneven. In the first issue, it seems to read so fast that it doesn't really feel like too much happens. The second issue is the complete opposite; it reads significantly slower and may feature too much story. I wonder if a better balance could have been struck between the two issues as far as present and flashback storylines. Granted, it's a little biased to be comparing the two issues as part of one overarching storyline, but even on their own the pacing is slightly problematic.

The feel of the book is very pulpy and really does take you back to what I imagine the 50s were really like. The Rahzzah's artwork and Bautista's lettering might steal the show here. The panels almost make you feel like you're watching old videos through Microfilm or something. There's a certain layer over the illustrations that I can't quite classify but it really works to add to the atmosphere of the book. The lettering just works beautifully, as the font choice and use really characterizes the players well.

Fans of pulp comics will be interested in checking this series out. The first issue is due in stores February 20, but it needs your help getting the orders in. Definitely head to your local comic book shop and place a preorder for the work with Diamond order code FEB111132 if you want to get a copy. The second issue should be due May 18. Interiors are below.