Friday , February 23 2024
Halloween’s over. But it’s never too late to dig werewolves on the moon...

Book Review: Full Moon Fever by Joe Casey, Caleb Gerard and Damian Couceiro

Though I'm generally as wary of the High Concept as AiT publisher Larry Young is enamored with it, I've gotta admit that there are some HCs that are well nigh irresistible. Among 'em – for this monster-adoring reader, at least – is the selling point for Joe Casey, Caleb Gerard & Damian Couceiro's Full Moon Fever (AiT/Planet Lar). Werewolves on the moon? Okay, you've gotta really screw things up to completely lose me on that 'un . . .

So, let's this out of the way first: Casey & company don't screw things up.

The story revolves around an Off-World Waste Disposal Crew (cousins to the intergalactic garbagemen of John Carpenter's Dark Star or the bickersome working stiffs of Ridley Scott's Alien) sent on the shuttle Deliverance to a research station moon base to work on the plumbing. Comprised of two "jarhead" pilots and a quartet of "paycheck players" who actually do the dirty work, the crew is more than a little contemptuous of the scientist types they're being sent across space to aid: "These eggheads can't figure out their own waste disposal systems," one of 'em grouses.

But the seemingly mundane work order quickly goes bad. First sign that something is Just Not Right: nobody from the base answers when Deliverance gets ready to land. It's up to technician Zeke Kirby (we can tell he's the hero since he's the only one given a family back on Earth) to get them into the moon base safely.

It's not giving much away to note that not long after our sextet has disembarked from their shuttle, they start getting picked off by a pack of lycanthropes. Casey builds the unveiling of his menace with full attention to the basics of monster story tease-&-reveal (first we just see "something sticky" on the floor, then a swishing claw, then a back shot of something chewing on a body, 'til we finally get to see the creature – familiar stuff, but it still works) and artist Gerard & Couciero efficiently present the lonely moon base as an isolated place where you're shit out of luck once the monsters come.

The only moment where the artists stumble is a scene where the story cuts between several repairmen wandering through the base and Kirby still working on a pipe – when the panels jump from a horrified face shot of two workers seeing somp'n grisly to a back shot of Kirby huddled over some pipes, the first reaction we have is that we're seeing a hunched-over corpse. It took me a couple more panels and some back-tracking before I could scan how that sequence actually worked.

Scripter Casey is economical (perhaps a trace too much so) in parsing out story info – when someone points out a working microwave oven as they first walk through the moon base, you just known it'll later be used (same goes for an item given to Kirby as a birthday present) – while characterization barely goes above rudimentary. Those familiar with Hollywood werewolf lore ("Even a man who's pure at heart and says his prayers at night . . .") will also suss out where the beasts come from long before the hero does. But as a plain ol' Trapped in A Bad Place horror tale, Full Moon Fever is enthusiastically and honestly told – even if the surprises are as spare as Casey's character details. (I prefer the noiry embellishments of his earlier Codeflesh.) But still . . . werewolves on the moon? I kin dig it . . .

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.

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