Review by Karl Verhoven
Prohibition-era gangster Lou Pirlo’s life was transformed when sent by his New York boss to negotiate a deal with bootleggers deep in the Virginia Hills. It went about as wrong as it could short of him being killed, yet in Misery Train his becoming a werewolf saved the day in unpleasant circumstances. Now in New Orleans, perhaps there’s a way he can be cleared of his condition. It’s going to cost, though.
Raising the money gives Eduardo Risso the opportunity to take us on a tour of 1930s New Orelans, every page a stunner, and the period detail utterly convincing, mixing the French-influenced architecture with the sights you’d then frequently see. After all this time there’s no need to reiterate how amazing Risso’s art is, the mastery of shadow and rich personalities on every page, so how about drawing attention to his colouring? That’s equally rich, all the more impressive for Risso limiting it, such as a deep blue for a graveyard, or ochre for the night streets.
Misery Train was a mis-step, drawing attention away from Pirlo as a central character to spread the attention too thinly elsewhere. In Rue Le Jour Brian Azzarello drags Moonshine back on track, with Pirlo again the primary focus in another exotic setting, and what remains of the original supporting cast also play a part. To that brew Azzarello adds one very dangerous new character with a view on what Pirlo can be, and an insistence that he become it. As before, Azzarello prompts Pirlo with a whole selection box of memorable pithy observations tying into his way of life. There’s “Bones, like promises, are made to be broken”, “saints are just sinners who’re particularly adept at lying to God” or “love comes with strings. More like ropes or chains”.
The idea of voodoo mysticism has long been associated with New Orleans, and Azzarello and Risso serve up a meaty big helping tied to the idea that if Pirlo can’t control what’s within him, perhaps someone else can. It doesn’t go well, surely not a spoiler, but at no point is it obvious what’s going to happen. Rue Le Jour is the complete nightmare in five blood-drenched chapters and we move on to The Angel’s Share.