This piece originally appeared as part of my weekly newsletter, The Full Lid on 22nd February 2019. If you liked it, and want a weekly down of pop culture enthusiasm, occasional ketchup recipes and me enjoying things, then check out the archive and sign up here.
The cloud is now the Moon. Project Moonframe turned the Earth’s satellite into a colossal offsite backup for the entire history of electronic communication. It’s all there. Every text. Every phone call. Every cat meme. Synthetic brain tissue as the ultimate solid state storage. Luna as the ultimate external hard drive.
It’s also just been infected by a virus. Astronauts Zack and David have been sent to solve the problem. Doctor Harriet Marks, Zack’s wife and the creator of Project Moonframe, is running the operation from Earth. None of them have any idea what they’re about to get into.
Scripted by Nick Bryan, with art by Lucas Peverill and letters by DC Hopkins, Moonframe begins as classic space mystery and then takes a far darker turn. Bryan’s script, which establishes it’s characters and structures effortlessly, has some nasty surprises up its sleeve and reveals them to us at the same pace as the characters. That in turn ramps the tension up as the astronauts struggle to find a solution in an increasingly abstract landscape. The extruded cats are a real highlight and that’s not a sentence I ever expected to write.
Peverill’s bright, scratchy style is a great fit for the story. When the Moonframe starts acting up, the pages go full Cronenberg body horror but when the action focuses on the astronauts it’s far more subtle and dialed back. Peverill’s work focuses Bryan’s script and ensures the emotion comes to the surface throughout. It also uses the occasional witty, on-point piece of image reference and manages to portray the Moonframe as something akin to Moonbase Alpha if it had been built in the Mountains of Madness. It’s good, expansive stuff that reminded me a lot of the work of Alex Maleev. Hopkins’ lettering is the circuitry that holds things together and really gets to cut loose in the second half. There’s a great sequence where the Moonframe begins weaponizing people’s dataprints which leads to panels being filled with texts. Peverill’s art, and Hopkins’ lettering give them the exact vast, implacable, heavy and nightmarish feel they need.
Moonframe is great, smart fun. It explores its idea from multiple angles, tells you no lies and is ridiculously well put together. The team behind it is top notch too and I look forward to their next work.
Moonframe, priced £1.99 is available from Comixology now. You can find more about it at Nick’s site here.