Review: Moon Knight #1
Ah Moon Knight. For some reason, you can never find an audience. Even when Brian Michael Bendis, the most bankable name at Marvel, writes a great volume. Marvel has decided to give it another go with the critical favorite Warren Ellis and rising star Declan Shalvey. And the result is pure brilliance.
Warren Ellis spends most of this #1 reacquainting readers as to what makes Moon Knight a hero. It’s a fairly slow first issue in terms of pacing, but this gives Ellis plenty of time to properly set up the next year’s worth of issues for Marc Spector. He’s smartened up since leaving Los Angeles and has changed his tactics for saving people. Ellis seems to be channeling earlier Marc Spector characterization (multiple personalities working together) instead of the more recent personality shifts. A crazy hero is fine, but it was a story point that didn’t progress far enough in the past three volumes. I really liked how Ellis continuously calls Moon Knight crazy in different ways while Spector is doing tactically smart things. It’s incredibly compelling and throws the reader’s expectations off. I’m accustomed to Moon Knight starting out smart and turning into a brawler once the crap hits the fan. But this new tactical approach is great. His time as mercenary (besides being blood thirsty) has been largely forgotten recently in favor of trying to focus on his crazy side. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent taking down bulky guys to harvest their organs is an ok B-story that is the only real weakness of this issue. The villain isn’t memorable and Moon Knight could use a few new memorable villains besides Raul Bushman. But it gets the job done in expanding on Ellis’ version of Marc Spector.
What made my jaw drop by the end of the issue is the use of Khonshu. The Egyptian god of Vengeance has been a sticking point in past volumes. Between Vol. 3, Vengeance of the Moon Knight, and Vol. 4, Khonshu was always relegated to Marc’s crazy manifesting in ways or not appearing. These aspects often hurt the story and kept Marc from being a fully relatable character. Ellis takes this convoluted aspect of Moon Knight and makes it completely understandable. It’s as if the world makes sense. The split personality syndrome fits in with his story as a hero perfectly. And the more you think about it, the more brilliant it becomes. I was excited for Bendis and Alex Maleev’s volume, but this volume makes me giddy with excitement.
Declan Shalvey’s artwork is beautiful. Simple as that. Shalvey perfectly conveys Moon Knight’s most known characteristic: the white uniform. I like the old uniform more, but I could get use to the suite version. Jordie Bellaire’s muted color palette adds to the affect. Moon Knight seems traditionally inked and colored where everyone else seems to have the inks and colors mixing a little, which draws the reader’s eyes towards Moon Knight even more. It’s a minor change over normal superhero books, but my god does it make for a beautiful look. Khonshu has lacked a corporeal form in recent volumes, with the God inhabiting random items at the end of Vol. 3 to talk to Spector. The bird look (who looks like a falcon in ancient Egyptian drawings) brings a the origin of Moon Knight back to its roots in a way.
Moon Knight #1 gets 4.5/5.
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