In Review: Moth & Whisper #5

Moth & Whisper go after Ambrose Wolfe in an unconventional way.

The cover: The different identities that Niki can assume are shown coming off their mask, with several more ready to go behind them. Nice symbolic cover from Jen Hickman showing how Niki can disguise their identity. The colors are little dark dark, with a color other than black would make this pop a little more. However, it does match the color scheme of the previous covers. Overall grade: B

The story: Niki is still in Moira’s hideout, along with Walter Waverly. The hero asks if the pair want out, because Ambrose Wolfe must be taken down. They both want to help, so they plot how to take down the mobster. Moira says that if Niki and Walter can access two nodes of Wolfe’s data simultaneously then she can overlap their matrices and crack his security wide open. Walter volunteers bringing in his father, also a mobster, who would welcome taking down the competition. “No. I’m not doing this by force,” Niki says. “I’m going to do this the way my parents would.” Ted Anderson’s concluding chapter then moves to a familiar mask wearing character ascending a building to get to the thirteenth floor. This individual gains access and the action begins. The tension in the book is good, increasing with every page. The end of Page 7 took my breath away. Page 10 has a great surprise. The dialogue that ends 13 is fantastic, with the arrivals on 15 excellent. I was glad for the final six pages that give resolution to the conflict, but allows a plot point to remain open so that there could be further issues of this series. This conclusion was smart, tense, and incredibly satisfying. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Jen Hickman’s visuals have been enjoyable since the first issue and she closes out this installment beautifully. The design of the characters is neat, with Niki looking great and the disguises that they employ matching their true face perfectly. I love Moira’s look: her hair, her implants, her smile — everything. I like how Hickman shows the characters looking at Moira’s screens on Page 2, as if they’re seeking information from a higher source. The computer images shown on the same page look great. The gesture that Moira makes to end the page matches her dialogue excellently. The final image that ends the third page is a great tease of what’s to come. The colors at Moira’s are faded violets, which connotate evening and illicit actions. The stark white used for Niki’s mask has it instantly draw the reader’s eyes whenever it appears. Wolfe’s facility is colored in light greens, also connoting the evening, but also give the actions a sick flavor. Page 7 has very little dialogue, relying primarily on Hickman’s visuals and they work great as the figure makes their way through the building secretly. I would love to see the smile smacked off the face of that character on 9. The shock on 10 is awesome; I wanted to see a dramatic reaction and I got it. 12 has blacks used to increase the tension, with the characters colored light blue. I love the use of greens to show how one character is looking at the others. The actions by two guards on Page 15 telegraphed what was about to happen and the individual that arrives is reacting perfectly to the situation. The colors brighten considerably on the final pages as it is a setting from earlier in the series. The sculpture that’s between the two characters on 18 is great. The visuals change considerably on 19 to represent three characters and I really like the look of all of them. I love everything about Hickman’s work and need to see more of it. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The variety of styles employed by Marshall Dillon increase the unique look of this book. The text of this issue includes Niki’s dialogue, others’ dialogue, transmissions, whispers, sounds, and the concluding word. Niki has their own font, making the character stand apart from others, the transmissions are in italics which visually clue the reader into their sounding mechanical, the whispered speech is slightly smaller than normal dialogue — still readable, but obviously meant to be fainter, and the sounds big and blocky during action sequences, while smaller sounds are stick-like, visually cluing the reader into them being inferred as lesser noises. Great work. Overall grade: A

The final line: Moth & Whisper go after Ambrose Wolfe in an unconventional way. The story is great for tension and surprises, with the conclusion excellent. The visuals are outstanding and have me needing to see more work from Jen Hickman. The letters also add to the visual flair of this book. I loved everything about this series and this can’t be the end. I need more Moth & Whisper! 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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