Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DAMN Good Comics -- MOON KNIGHT #1

"I've died before.  It was boring, so I stood up."
I know what you're thinking -- Another Moon Knight #1?  Really?  What is this, volume 7?  Yeah, it's another Moon Knight series, with another take on the Fist of Khonshu from another completely different angle.  But the thing is, unlike so many of the others, this approach actually works.
A couple of years back, writer Warren Ellis wrote an incredible six issues of Marvel's Secret Avengers series, giving us stories far better than a superfluous Avengers book deserved.  One of those stories, "Aniana" from Secret Avengers #19, featured Moon Knight wearing a tailored white suit and mask instead of his traditional superhero costume and coming off more insanely cool than ever before.
Well, Marvel and Ellis must've loved the idea, because Marc Spector is rocking the white suit once again (Does he shop at the same men's store as Planetary's Elijah Snow?) in a new ongoing series, with art by Declan Shalvey.  Instead of wiping the slate clean as you might expect, the book is a subtle continuation of previous Moon Knight incarnations, including previous runs by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, and Charlie Huston and David Finch.  And for old-school Moon Knight fans, Ellis even brings back characters like Joy Mercado and Detective Flint.
This first issue brings the character back home to New York (after Bendis' series set in Los Angeles), a location Ellis seems to know well after his recent novel Gun Machine.  Instead of flying around in moon-shaped helicopter, however, Marc now rides in the back of a white limousine, driven by a computer named Driver.  Oh, and he and Detective Flint now have an arrangement where "Mr. Knight, a concerned citizen," is able to assist the NYPD without them being forced to arrest a dangerous vigilante.  If you've ever wondered what a Batman series written by Warren Ellis would be like, Merry Christmas.
Shalvey's art feels a bit sketchy in places and may depend on your personal taste, but there are some incredible visuals here that add considerable impact to Ellis' script.  There's a particularly effective sequence where Moon Knight parks his limo over a sewer manhole and climbs down at least three levels of underground tunnels.  I'm not exactly sure how he manages to keep his suit so pristinely white in the process, but hey, it's comics and sometimes you just have to roll with that sort of thing.
Ellis caps off the issue with some intriguing revelations about Marc's presumed Dissociative Identity Disorder and how it may be something else entirely...unless, of course, Marc is actually hallucinating these revelations and it's just yet another example of his mental instability.  This book is going to be one hell of a ride that could take us practically anywhere, so here's hoping Ellis is in this for the long run.


  1. Great review Charles! I waited to read it until after I read the comic. I concur, and yet, what is "the long run" for Ellis? Six issues? A full year? I know he's in through four issues because he mentioned this in his newsletter (do you get that?): Orbital Operations.
    Oh and by the way, you are my inspiration to work on shorter posts! :-)

    1. Well, a "long run" for a Warren Ellis Marvel series these days is probably twelve issues. He did stick with Freakangels for a good while, however, and it looks like he's put a lot of thought into this "weird crime" take on Marc Spector, so who knows?

      And hey, don't feel like you have to constrain yourself because of my posts. I get pressed for time every so often thanks to Life, The Universe and Everything, so I try to focus on the main thoughts I want to express and then fit everything else in as time allows. Different styles for different people, I suppose, but thanks for appreciating my brevity.