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Comic Review: MOTH CITY #6

When last I wrote about Moth City, I took a look at the first five issues and found the series to be not only an exciting genre blender but one of the few comics to deliver on digital’s potential. Now, with the book heading toward its conclusion, writer/artist Tim Gibson is ramping up the tension.

What impresses me the most about the series, though, is how Gibson constantly finds new ways to implement the unique opportunities digital affords. Last time, I talked about some of the splashier effects, like a brutal kung fu fight or headlights flooding the windows during a crucial moment, but perhaps more than any of the previous issues, this one shows the mature ways digital can be used in the right hands.

There’s some exciting hand-to-hand combat, not to mention a hail of bullets, but the most effective things Gibson does with the in-panel “animation” are also the quietest. A queasy sequence featuring Governor McCaw at his very worst is the best example. The terror of McCaw’s words is punctuated by silence; you tap the screen, only to be greeted by a series of static images as McCaw contemplates doing something awful. His obsession with his daughter Glitter comes to a head this issue, and the empty spaces in their conversation say just as much as their dialogue.

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In addition to cerebral horror, Moth City #6 also makes time for straight-up horror. Jun attempts to lead his band of uninfected refugees through a city teeming with the undead and law enforcement, neither of which are friendly. Things don’t go so well in some pretty spectacular ways. There’s a riveting scene where Jun tries his damnedest to fend off one of the infected, and while it would look fine in print, the suspense is in the way Gibson is able to register every movement, every cut of a blade, every desperate facial expression.

I’ve seen some criticism of the series for treading “zombie” waters, but Moth City is far removed from The Walking Dead or any of the dozens of zombie comics crowding the stands. There’s a big difference between the infected roaming the streets here, with the complex political reasons which led to their existence, and your generic brain-eaters.

There are only two issues left before the series wraps, with a lot of ground left to cover. I think we’re in good hands, though. That just means we still have plenty thrills, chills, and digital innovation to look forward to.

Moth City is available on comiXology, Thrillbent, and its very own website. And hey, look at that: the first one is free on comiXology!

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Arlo J. Wiley

Arlo J. Wiley