Comic Buyers Guide #1528, February 28, 2003
Tales of the Moonlight Cutter #1
Review by Jim Johnson
Berry's been at this for awhile; his first comic book, Ninja Funnies, debuted back in 1986 and was quickly forgotten amidst the speculative black-and-white indy boom of that year. But two years later he created Moonlight Cutter as a feature in a martial arts magazine, and 15 years after that his nocturnal character again sees the light of day in this standalone comic.
Shen Hua Yen is a swordsman in 12th cnetury China who wields a weapon known as The Cold Moon Sword, whose touch can not only destroy an opponent's physical form, but also their spirit. When a village's sole exorcist finds himself demonically possessed, the only thing that can purge him is the sword of Moonlight Cutter. Of course, the demon can't be destroyed without destroying the innocent host, as well.
Berry does little in exploring this dilemma, though, which is a bit disappointing. But he mostly makes up for this by throwing in another twist later in the story, and there's little else to find fault with. His experience for doing this kind of thing is more than evident, as witnessed by well-choreographed fight sequences and tight pacing.
This is a very nicely done example of a genre done by a guy who knows what he's doing. Ninja fans will find this worth seeking out.
PRO: Well-told marital arts story.
CON: Intriguing conflict not developed.