Luna is a comic book that brings to mind, for me, more than anything, the recent Tarantino movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Not because of a shared subject matter or anything like that — the world of aging film stars explored by Tarantino is very far afield from Luna’s story, to be clear. The similarity comes to mind from the way that Luna evokes a world and a time. It makes you feel like you’re elsewhere, like you’re at a different time and place, in the dying days of the sixties.
It’s more then just a period place, using the setting as just a setting. Rather, the setting is invoked to bring about the feelings that we associate with the time period, traditionally. That dreamy, Age of Aquarius, psychedelic feeling permeates the pages of Luna. This issue is really is not plot-driven. It’s not about what happens in the story. It’s about the feelings, the atmosphere, that the book evokes.
The plot is pretty minimal — our main character, Teresa, shows up in the desert, her car broken down. She’s taken in by a strange cult that seduces and entrances her, and as she stays with them, she experiences a number of psychedelic, magical visions – trips, basically. Then she goes back to the cult, and there’s another orgy/drug trip.
On the surface, it doesn’t sound like much. And maybe it isn’t; the plot is pretty straightforward. But it’s a credit to artist and writer Maria Llovet that this relatively barebones plot is so heavily complemented by her interiors that the final result becomes so evocative. From the very first pages, a completely incredible two page spread of mystic symbology and iconography, the atmosphere of the book is unmistakable.
But I have to continue to qualify my recommendation of this comic, for good or ill. This is Not a Safe For Work comic. Nothing wrong with that, to be clear, and the nudity and drug use in the story is honestly appropriate for the type of story being told. But this is a comic that will presumably be shelved somewhere between Batman and Moon Knight in the stores, and a rating or warning somewhere would have been appreciated.
But the book’s quality isn’t dissuaded by that. It’s a mature book with an interesting tone and atmosphere, one that I want to see continue to be explored. I am excited to read the second issue, and I’d highly recommend you read the first.
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