When dealing with the supernatural, referring to a full moon in the title is hardly hiding the likely source of some savage murders, and sure enough, it’s not too long before Harry Dresden, the Chicago private detective with magical skills, is looking for a werewolf.

Full Moon is a big step up the quality ladder for The Dresden Files, which over three previous graphic novels has been held back by unimaginative artwork. New artist Chase Conley is very welcome. He varies the viewpoints far more than before, and he’s good with locations, ensuring the cast inhabit somewhere rather than float on vague backgrounds. His monsters are suitably fearsome, and he gives the human cast a downbeat, lived in look, which is appropriate. He’s not strong on subtle visual emotion, and there’s some odd facial shading, but given the vast artistic improvement over previous books, those are minor quibbles.

Jim Butcher’s plot for Storm Front was good, but Full Moon is better. He and co-writer Mark Powers explore the characters more during the course of a mystery, and the relationship between Dresden and police detective Karrin Murphy is given greater depth. It also seems Chicago criminal kingpin Johnny Marcone is around for the long term, and that’s welcome, as he’s slimy and manipulative, and possibly a match for Dresden. When dealing with magic it’s surely tempting to esnure your lead character is all-powerful, and Dresden’s practicality in carrying a gun along with his literal fire stick indicates he’s not. Furthermore, Dresden’s world isn’t one of muttering the right spell at the right time, he needs to carry potions, devised to protect against the threat he thinks he’s going to have to face, and as his trade is a detective involving the mystical world preparation is everything. It’s while he’s preparing that Butcher throws in a great dangled carrot, surely the prompt of future plots.

Volume one finishes halfway through the story, by which time Dresden appears to have burned some bridges, a friend is dead and he’s learned that not all werewolves are what they might be. It’s a heady mix and anyone who likes supernatural graphic novels should get the full dose of thrills of fun. And there’s part two to come. Both are also available in paperback as part of the first Dresden Files Omnibus.