"Night Moves #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by V.J. Boyd and Justin Boyd
Illustrated by Clay McCormack
Colored by Mike Spicer
Lettered by Shawn DePasquale
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 21st, 2018
Vegas hustler Chris Dundee has seen ups and downs, but nothing like this. A normal night at the bar turns violent as a group of priests barge in and starts shooting the place up. This leads to a discovery of some occult practices hidden within the club, sending Chris down a rabbit hole of terror. All he wants is to get away from this stuff, but the cops aren't letting him out that easy. He's their guide to the criminal underworld and he's in this whether he likes it or not.
Night Moves hits on a few different layers. Writers V.J. Boyd and Justin Boyd set this up with an introduction set 40 years in the future of an elder Chris sharing a story with his kid neighbor. He's full of regret as he begins this tale. The image of an older, Mr. Rogers-esque Chris contrasts so much with the smooth-talking hustler we see in the present. You're immediately filled with questions as to how these two images could possibly be the same person.
This also comes through in Mike Spicer's colors. The future scene is bright and full of hope, while the present day is dark and gritty. I'm sure the sun rises in this setting, but it hasn't happened in a long time. Everything is lit by dingy streetlights and neon signs, creating this uneasy feeling.
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Night Moves starts off as an interesting noir story and then quickly takes a turn into the occult. It does so in such a shocking fashion. I'm not sure what I was expecting to find in this book, but it wasn't this. That's not said as a negative comment. It's quite the opposite, as we're dealing with some pretty creepy stuff.
Artist Clay McCormack reveals this in such a disturbing fashion. It's a haunting image that immediately fills you with questions. The door is kicked wide open in terms of storytelling possibilities with a single shot and things only get darker from there. Finding this (and yes, I'm being purposely vague because I don't want to spoil it) is the hook that changes Chris' life and sends him through this terrifying journey.
McCormack's style lends itself to the tone of the story. It has a gritty feel to it, which is pitch perfect for the noir genre and not bad for the horror side either.
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There's a lot packed into this opening chapter of Night Moves, to the point where I had to double check to see if it was an oversized issue. The story moves at a breakneck pace and you get a ton of forward momentum. The creators hit the ground running so that when the final page hits, you're begging for more.
There are a handful of occasions where there's almost too much writing. The dialogue floods the page here and there and letterer Shawn DePasquale juggles some long conversations that feel like they're out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. There's one page in particular that is a bit rough as the word balloons take up about 80% of the real estate, weaving up and down and all over the place. That is a bit much and I have to wonder if it could have been broken up any differently.
Night Moves strikes a perfect blend between noir and horror. It works on the principles of the former and pulls in some of the best aspects of the latter. This isn't a supernatural detective story, like Hellblazer or Criminal Macabre. This is a normal, everyday guy who just found himself in a sinister world lurking just beneath the criminal underbelly he is used to.