Group Review: Moon Knight #1

Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Marvel Comics before we begin: Marc Spector is Moon Knight!...Or is he? It's hard to tell these days, especially when New York's wildest vigilante protects the street with two-fisted justice and three—that's right, count ‘em—different personalities! But even with the mystical force of Khonshu fueling his crusade, how does the night's greatest detective save a city that's as twisted as he is? The road to victory is going to hurt. A lot. Marvel's most mind-bending adventure begins NOW as Moon Knight sleuths his way to the rotten core of New York's most bizarre mysteries!

Dustin: BUY

Like a lot of comic readers I like Moon Knight. I like his all white suit and how the only comparison to him is Batman, but then that’s not really true if you know anything about Moon Knight. He’s a great character that Marvel has fucked up over the years, but with every new series since 2006 they manage to clean up his past. They explain away all the different names and origins and really I thought we cleared all of that up, but apparently we didn’t… or Bendis fucked it up again.

So while I wasn’t thrilled that they were re-explaining how and why Moon Knight aka Marc Spektor was crazy… I did love Warren Ellis’ explanation. The fact is I loved everything about this book and found Ellis’ dialogue to be refreshing and interesting. The detective way that Moon Knight approached the crime scene was finally reminiscent of Batman his DC counterpart, but without it being Batman. It also wasn’t some brazen attempt to rip off Sherlock which was also… refreshing. I believed everything about Moon Knight’s character and will be back for more.

Quickly I will also say that Declan Shalvey was as amazing as I thought he would be on this series. His art was gorgeous and the absolute best fit for the series. Loved the costumed design and the entire look of the city. Shalvey… you rock, but you know who also rocks? Jordie Bellaire, I think she’s stolen the mantle from Dave Stewart as my favorite colorist. Buy this book is what I’m saying.

Jefferey: BORROW

I admit there’s a void in my comics knowledge where Moon Knight resides. I know about him in passing. (1) That he’s Marvel’s answer to Batman, a caped-and-cowled crusader who investigates crime and disassembles baddies. (2) That, unlike Bats, his crazy is bigger and weirder. So when I heard that Warren Ellis would helm the Moon Knight revamp, I knew the capacity for my bigger/weirder appreciation would be tested. Big and weird are Ellis’ wheelhouse. In his non-graphic novels, Crooked Little Vein and Gun Machine, he shows his propensity to jump the rails, sometimes in ways I can appreciate and sometimes in ways where it subsumes the narration and turns into nothing more than tiresome onanist prattling.

Here, Ellis slaps a harness on the weirdness for a time to spend the issue reintroducing the character, his backstory and his quirks, by way of a common policier. Ellis introduces this one-and-done plot to hint readers about the tone of the series to come and to reintroduce Moon Knight’s detective M.O. and crime fighting acumen. After he dispatches the grotesque culprit (fairly anticlimactically), there’s a minor epilogue about his big, weird crazy and it’s exactly as I feared — Ellis’ weirdness, unchecked. I am forgiving of it as a #1 title. It may take another few issues to develop on the ideas present here. Until then I am wary

In the meanwhile, gaze upon Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire and weep. The big bad is a dripping grotesquerie, and the sewer, a glowering pit. When Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire are on, they’re on. I anticipate this series to get darker and deeper and, of course, bigger and weirder.


James: BUY

I have only passively checked out Moon Knight through the years.  I always liked his look, but I didn’t follow any of his individualized adventures.  I do remember coming across him on some old Spider-Man and Daredevil issues, but that was about it. So of course, when I heard that Marvel was bringing back the man who put the luna in lunacy, then I had to give it a go. I had nothing to lose.

As I said, I know very little of Moon Knight, so I am not sure of all the details of his story. But from what I can tell, writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey did a commendable job in this retelling of mercenary Marc Spector’s death, resurrection, crime fighting career, and his craziness which is of great renown.

Covering “what happened next”, we get to see Moon Knight in action assisting the police with a brutal crime. Ellis writes Spector as a real laid back and casually cool guy.  Whether he is crazy or not, he has a flair for modest showmanship, wearing a luminous suit with mask. But he can apparently back it up with his action skills. He also looks to be quite fearless. But then again, he’s already died once. I guess there isn’t too much to fear.

There are some teasers within the issue, but nothing has quite been revealed within the pages. We might have some ideas, but that’s about it. It is exactly that type of story that makes for a smooth and enjoyable opening. I am ready to see what destination Ellis is taking us to in regard to our hero. I just hope that Declan Shalvey stays around for a while. I loved his renderings here. They had a nice mixture of fantasy and reality that adds an interesting commentary of a man who he himself is a little bit of fantasy and reality within his own mind.

Kimberly: BORROW

I am not sure where to even begin. I think there was way too much crammed into the first issue. I like the layering and weaving of storytelling but I think it was information overload for me. And I am still confused on whom this mysterious Marc Spector is and most of the characters don’t really have any kind of introduction. In general, though I dig the concept of this dude trying to redeem himself with the whole play on the supernatural. I would love for it to lead to uncovering a good backstory.

Oh and I’d also like to mention that, Jordie Bellaire’s usage of color is noteworthy; it’s actually my favorite component of Moon Knight but even though I like the art and basic concept I’m going to give it a “borrow”. Mostly, because I am sitting here going “what the hell did I just read?”


Nick: BUY

Moon Knight does a few things really well. One of those things is definitely the putting of Declan Shalvey in the lead art slot on an A-list book. And before you say anything about the status of Moon Knight himself, this is an A-list book because it brought goddamn Warren Ellis back to comics. Or at least he allowed it to bring him back, since I don’t think that old English curmudgeon does anything he doesn’t want to.

The art in this issue is killer, as is the basic plot, but I’m missing a lot of back story about Moon Knight. I don’t know if it’s going to be doled out (aside from a well-paced expository page 1), but he’s a cape I’ve just never understood. Even his Wikipedia page is tough to parse, as far as Marc Spector and whether he’s also these two other dudes (or is he Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man? The world may never know). I trust Ellis to lead me through it, though, with a surefire series of transhumanist stops along the way.

Definitely check out the issue. Definitely check back for next month’s installment to see where it’s going.

Adam: PASS

I haven’t had much exposure to Moon Knight, but I’ve heard him described as ‘Batman with multiple personality disorder,’ so I was instantly intrigued.  Upon actually reading this first issue however, I was incredibly underwhelmed.  This just seems like a character that would have been a lot more interesting and would have more freedom on a creator-owned level rather than being released through Marvel.  The issue really failed to draw me in at all.

This is one of those books I think should start out like trying to catch a moving train and just have a crazy start.  Instead, there was tons of dialogue (some of which was laughably cheesy) and a forgettable encounter with a member of SHIELD.  Another problem I had with the story was why does a crazy guy that deals with his business in the gutters of a city rendezvous with the police before he does his business?  He seems much more like a loner than they portray.  Also, the art didn’t really do anything for me and was just pretty average in my opinion.  With other great gritty characters in the superhero spectrum and in creator-owned world such as X and the whole Victories team, this new Moon Knight series is left behind in the dust for me.


Steve: BUY

The only experience I have with Moon Knight is randomly getting one of his old books in one of those vacuum-sealed grab bags at Sam’s Club when I was but a wee sprite. I always thought his outfit was dope as hell, though, and that his god-given moniker - “The Fist of Khonshu” - sounded like an illicit sexual act. So really, what’s not to love? That unfamiliarity with the character was liberating going into this series, and I was able to build up my excitement around the badassery of the creative team. But would either hold up?

Overall, I dug this book. Ellis does a good job of summing up the broken history and psychology of Marc Spector (one of the many personalities behind the mask), though the very final pages of the book - while gorgeously surreal - lost me a bit; especially that doctor. On the other hand, what she revealed was grave, sombre and grippingly told enough to keep me glued to this book.

I love the starkness of Shalvey’s art here, and he works well with Bellaire to achieve in Knight’s slick suit a complete absence of color, rather than just a shade of white. It almost sets him outside his own story, which seems to be part of his “thing.”

My only gripe is that his first foe in this series felt a bit clumsy, clunky and flat, and not just in appearance or ethos, but like an ill fit for an introductory villain. I did, however, like Spector’s detective skillz here, and his form of crimefighting - ballsy, brash and phosphorescently visible - is something I imagine I’ll enjoy sinking my teeth into as the series unfolds. Huh, I’m on-board for a Moon Knight book. Welcome to 2014, everybody!

Jordan: BUY

Marc Spector is a bad motherfucker. The kind of guy who wears a white suit because he likes his enemies to see him coming, the kind of guy who cuts criminals faces off on a bad day and shoots them on a good one. Basically, a guy you want on your team. Moon-knight is my kind of comic book, stylish, savvy featuring writing whip-sharp and intriguing story fans hoped for in this first issue from Warren Ellis, and boy do he and his team not disappoint..

The idea of the White Knight as a police assistant on “weird crimes” is a bitchin one, and, though a simple story of an alley-way slasher the plot becomes more in a way that is fun, creative, dark and beautiful. Color and art play a big part working together to make one of the more gorgeous books I've come across in a while. Everything looks great and color tells the story just as much as words themselves with a stark white Moon-knight being a great touch as he stands in stark contrast to his background.

I've always been interested in this character but never read his stories, Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire make sure that will never be the case again. A sucker for crazy heroes, I'm more than happy to add the avatar of Khonshu to my pull-list.

Score: 5 Buys, 2 Borrows and a Pass

Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Declan Shalvey Colorist: Jordie Bellaire Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/5/14