There is probably no event in American history as significant as the Civil War. Yes, there will be people that argue that the war for independence was more significant because it lead to the founding of America, but I would argue that the Civil War was more important because it tested that nation in a way that it had never been tested before, and frankly has never been tested since. The Civil War was a crucial turning point in American, and had the Confederacy managed to win, America as we know it today certainly would not exist.
It is also the first and only war in history where Americans fought on both sides, which makes it a hard war for us to discuss. See, American’s like to see themselves as the good guys in every war we participate in. In a war like WWII that narrative is easy to sustain. In the Civil War, well, it becomes a lot more conflicted.
Since the Northern forces of unity won the war, we tend to see the Union Army as the “good guys,” and the Confederacy as being in the wrong. But since the Confederate Army was made up of Americans, they are frequently given a good deal of leeway when it comes to the whole “bad guy” thing. Popular media, especially in the 20th Century, liked to portray them as “rebels” and “individualists,” downplaying the fact that they were fighting to maintain a system of human bondage and slavery.
In recent years there has been a lot of hot debate about the topic, with many people on both sides of the issue being extremely vocal. While it’s hard to speak for everyone, it seems the general modern consensus is that there were good and decent people fighting in both armies, but there were also a lot of people with motives that were less than pure and noble. This is not really a surprise, since this could be said to be true in every war, but in the case of the Civil War there is definitely a push to try to find the humanity in both sides, even if people fighting on both sides didn’t always see the humanity in their fellow men.
And that takes us to today’s review of Two Moons from Image Comics, a new horror book that shows the chaos of a nation tearing itself apart through the eyes of an unlikely source.
Here’s the blurb:
RUMBLE and B.P.R.D. writer JOHN ARCUDI is back at Image with rising star VALERIO GIANGIORDANO for an all-new ONGOING HORROR SERIES! This issue starts the long journey of a young Pawnee man named Virgil Morris—aka Two Moons—fighting for the Union during the Civil War. When he is suddenly confronted with his shamanic roots, he discovers horrors far worse than combat as the ghosts of his past reveal the monstrous evil around him!
I’ve seen a lot of movies about the Civil War, and read my fair share of Westerns based in and around it, but one thing that surprised me was Arcudi’s choice of narrator, a Native American. Now, it’s not that I didn’t know that Native Americans served in the Union Army (quite a few did), but I cannot think of a popular media depiction of that that I have seen. African American and White, sure, a lot, but Native American voices from the war are much, much rarer.
Perhaps that is because Indigenous people were quickly cast as the villains in America’s narrative of Manifest Destiny, making it hard to square that service to the nation with how they were betrayed. Or perhaps it’s because the dominant narrative was so focused on the brother vs brother imagery of white Americans at war that other voices slipped into the background. Whatever the reason, I am glad to have this narrative, and hope to see more books like Two Moons in the future.
As to Two Moons itself, the book is a delight. John Arcudi is a fantastic storyteller, and his grasp of the horror aesthetic is second to none. Two Moons had several legitimate jump scared that got me (something that can be hard to do in a comic) and Arcudi’s writing is brilliantly complimented by Valerio Giangiordano’s masterful art. The story is brutal and violent, mixing the best of war stories with the best of Native American mysticism, and I think Two Moons fits in well with other great horror stories on the shelves right now like Something Is Killing The Children and Sea of Sorrows.
So if you’re a history buff like me, looking for a fresh take on something old, Two Moons is the book for you.
Until next time, stay safe!