In Review: Moth & Whisper #1

Moth & Whisper is an impressive mystery in all too near future.

The covers: Two covers to collect, each focusing on Whisper. The A is by Jen Hickman and has Niki’s face shown to the reader by taking off the Whisper mask. I like that the face is shown above the title, with the text bleeding into the soft red background. The white mask draws the reader’s eyes easily in this image as Niki’s colors are muted and the hero’s top is gray and black. Very cool. Jorge Corona created the B cover and it shows Whisper at a function with red eyes creating beams that stand out against a crowd of silhouettes. The blue and rose colors that create the background give the book a very futuristic feel, which compliments the odd hats and hair styles of those shown. I don’t know if the character can shoot lasers from his eyes, but this was enough for me to purchase this version. Overall grades: Both A

The story: The title characters are introduced to the reader in the most classical way, “Once upon a time, there were two great thieves. The Moth. And the Whisper.” An unnamed narrator tells the reader the abilities and motivations of both characters. A turn of the page shows the Moth in the present: two unsavory people are about to make an exchange until one discovers the drive that contains vital information has been replaced with a card that bares the Moth’s logo. A woman in a red jacket bumped into the man with the drive and an order is made to go outside and find her. Outside, the woman isn’t found, though a man in the “Designated Indigent Zone” smiles as lackeys race by because he has the drive. This same narrator then shares an exploit of Whisper. Ted Anderson, the writer and co-creator, then moves the story back to present where a transaction occurs. This is followed by a physical transition and an fateful encounter. Page 18 has a solid surprise and then reveals the premise of this series. The backstory of the title characters is cool and concise and the possibilities of where this story can head are exciting. There’s a cool futuristic flavor, but not so over the top that it hits the familiar tropes of long running franchises. The motivation of the real lead is clever and I like how this individual’s goal will result in a meeting with the underworld of this society. I’m definitely on board for more. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: This book has a tremendous original look and style. Jen Hickman, the other co-creator, is both the artist and the colorist and she does an outstanding job. The design of the backstory for the title characters looks terrific; it’s extremely stylized and works incredibly well. I’d put it on a par of the classic openings to James Bond films starring Daniel Craig. The colors really add to the art, with Moth’s first close-up on the opening page looking great. The first scene in the present occurs on Pages 2 – 4 and has the reader inside a modern art gallery whose creations would make Salvador Dali happy. The colors help the offbeat locale, with focus falling on paintings and a large window. Notice that when the fourth page shows the exterior only the gallery is bright, the city is drably colored, as is the indigent, though colors nicely highlight what’s now in his possession. Books that have slightly futuristic designs resound strongly with me and Hickman is a master at doing this. The clothes are slightly different from now and don’t appear to be anything that someone ultra fashionable wouldn’t wear. A back alley on 11 has enough cables and signs to show a time not too far from now. The Whisper’s mask is simple but works incredibly well. When the character fully appears in the book I really liked his look. The thin stature of the hero reminded me of classic Steve Ditko design. When the protagonist goes into action his movements are great. The transformation on 16 is terrific and teases a bigger reveal that happens on 18. The interior shown on this same page is believable, even if there is an incredibly advanced piece of tech there. I really like the look of this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Marshall Dillon is the letterer and he creates narration, dialogue, yells, sounds, an AI voice, a computer’s text, and the three word tease for next issue. I really like that the narration is a slightly wavy scrawl that gives the speaker a weaker voice than characters’ dialogue; this is a visual way to make this unseen speaker sympathetic to the reader before this character is revealed. The sounds aren’t over the top comic book big, but are large enough to stand out and come across more grounded in reality, making this story believable. The font for the AI voice stands out for its thick letters, giving this voice an old school computer feel. Overall grade: A 

The final line: Moth & Whisper is an impressive mystery in all too near future. This book’s premise is clever and the world is engaging. The characters are exceedingly awesome and the visuals are cool in every possible way. I’m really looking forward to more. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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