Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review: Moon Knight #1

Variant cover by Young
Review: Moon Knight (vol. 5) #1 

Written By: Warren Ellis

Art By: Declan Shalvey

MARVEL COMICS March 5th 2014


Moon Knight has been an Avenger, appeared in several video games and has had four volumes of his own series throughout the years. However, to the general public he is still largely unknown. Once again, we see Moon Knight take center stage in his very own ongoing series (vol. 5). It remains to be seen if this run will be the much needed success that propels the character to new heights, popularity and exposure.

Who is Moon Knight?

Moon Knight was once a mercenary named Marc Specter who died while in Egypt on a job. As his body lay at the foot of a statue to the Egyptian god Khonshu he was brought back to life. The god's resurrected him as it's disciple. Specter dedicates his life to fighting evil to redeem his former life. But, due to certain aspects of the resurrection, Specter seemingly goes insane. What we are left with is an unstable vigilante who uses the night, disguises and detective work to take on the underworld with unmerciful force.

The debut issue of volume 5

The book is written by popular scribe, Warren Ellis and the art is done by Irish artist Declan Shalvey (who is a relative newcomer to the big leagues). Everything you need to know about the character's origin and motivations are laid out masterfully for new readers. This is a truly effective relaunch of the character. The background information on Spector doesn't feel forced or rushed. Instead, it adds to the narrative fluidly even for those who are familiar with the characters history. Ellis uses a method of writing in which he introduces the supporting cast as they are learning about Moon Knight and/or meeting him for the first time.

Interior Artwork Moon Knight #1
The current plot involves Specter assisting New York's finest on a grisly murder case in which the victims are being slashed into pieces. Parts of the victims are being taken below the city. We get to see a new outfit for our masked hero ( I can dig it). Readers see no shortage of Moon Knight's available resources and combat skill as he begins to tackle the gruesome assignment of locating and engaging the killer. The dialog and portrayal of the anti-hero is a clear and intriguing take on the personality of Moon Knight.

Ellis writes Moon Knight as a captivating anti-hero who is out to tackle New York's most bizarre mysteries while at the same time dealing with his own inner dilemmas, namely his dissociative identity disorder, which causes him to have multiple personalities and may or may not be the result of the god Khonshu's many aspects.

The art work was by far the biggest and most positive surprise of the issue for me. Shalvey's art is as integral to the telling of the plot as Ellis's writing is. His use of perspectives, angles and panels does so much to convey the tone, mood and setting that it flows like good cinema. It is that damn good.

Final Thoughts

I came into reviewing this issue with little expectations and an open mind. Now, I find myself sold on the title. I must wonder if the team of Ellis and Shalvey can deliver this kind of quality on a monthly basis. I believe, that if they do, this may be the volume with staying power and propels Moon Knight to the next level. I've always felt that the character had been misused in the past. He is far more intriguing than the Punisher and should be much more widely known. With this caliber of work by this creative team I will not be surprised if this is 2014's "Hawkeye".

This issue meets all of it's all of it's goals: It catches readers up on origin and motivations. It tells a complete story within the  first issue, but you're left with a cliffhanger of sorts that compels you to come back for more. And finally, the artwork not only fits the mood/tone but it defines it.

Rating: Buy it

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