Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Fool Moon #8 brings the comic adaptation of the second book in the series to an end. It’s time for Harry to lay all his cards on the table if he and his friends are gonna have any hope of survival. Here’s the official description from Dynamite:
Shattered friendships. Fallen allies. Dark family secrets. Oh, and an increasingly large number of mutilated corpses strewn across Chicago. These are merely some of the horrors Harry Dresden has endured in trying to stop an all-out war between several werewolf factions and the enigmatic gangster Johnny Marcone. Now, that war is coming to its tragic conclusion-and Harry will learn that his world, and the powers that threaten all he cares for, are far deadlier than he could possibly imagined…
As climaxes go, this one’s pretty straight forward: Harry and Co. get captured and have to work with someone they don’t particularly like against a common foe. The biggest problem with the writing, as in previous issues, is the reliance on text boxes. Artist Chase Conley seems absolutely capable of bearing a heavier load, storytellingwise, but instead gives us simple scenes, while the captions tell us exactly what is going one. This is one of the many situations in comics where, from the outside, it’s difficult to tell who’s responsible for a particular element, (in this case it could be comic writer Mark Powers, novelist Jim Butcher, or the editors at Dynamite). Harry Dresden’s own transformation into a wolf, thanks to one of the belts that have caused so much trouble, isn’t exactly a shocker, but it provides a interesting new dynamic that makes this battle stand out from all the previous ones.
As I said, Chase Conley is underused in several ways in this book. What we do get is a mixed bag. Conley’s style is somewhat abstract, which works well for the scenes involving magic, but his human forms, particularly facial features, could use a bit more realism. However, the action scenes are better, especially the ones with wolves, where the exact anatomy is less familiar and hidden by fur. Conley exaggerates the wolves to make them more menacing. One scene of a running wolf has the front legs stretched to a point that’s almost ridiculous, but that I actually find appealing. It really conveys the motion and urgency of the moment, even if it’s a bit overdone.
Fool Moon #8 is par for the series’ course, particularly in terms of the interaction between art and text. Calling it little more than an picture-book would be extreme and unfair, but that gives you an idea of where the book is leaning. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything else, given this is the last issue of the mini-series.