All-New Marvel NOW! Review: Moon Knight #1 by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey

Moon Knight #1

Written by Warren Ellis

Art by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire

 

The short of it:

The blogosphere begins to burn as the man named Moon Knight has returned to New York after a short and psychotic stint in Los Angeles. He’s nuts, that’s nothing new, a former mercenary empowered by an Egyptian God, who houses four unique personalities in his addled mind. The Mayor of New York has a guy in charge of things like this, though, a Detective Flint that is in charge of squad designed for the capes and weirdos. And you don’t get much weirder than Moonie, as he drives around in the back of a white limo, in a white suit, with an automated driver, following the police channels. With his mask on, the white suited ‘concerned citizen’ goes to talk with the cops, and while the new kid on the beat is thinking “Holy cats, it’s Moon Knight!”, he’s corrected by Flint…Mr. Knight is a concerned citizen that is a valuable asset in his ability to help the police with their investigations, but were he Moon Knight…then they’d have to go balls out to try and bring the psycho to justice.

Mr. Knight is able to break down the Slasher based on the victim, and he lets that mind of his create the story and fill out the crime scene. He goes full Batman, to be honest, and figures out everything from what to expect to where to look, and when a rookie cop tries to point out that he’s not a cop and he can’t do this….Mr. Knight reminds him that he’s offering to go hunt down a highly trained killer and bring him down without letting the cops step in the line of fire. This is his job, it’s why he wears a white suit at night. Knight follows the trail and finds the Slasher’s lair deep below the city, and tells the mangled and monstrous former SHIELD agent that he wants to hear his story.

The former agent was blown up by an IED, and then SHIELD wouldn’t put him back together, so he stumbled on old abandoned tech to do it himself. Now he’s a self made Frankenstein, going up to the surface to kill for spare parts that he can replace his own mangled ones with. The Slasher is amused, and opts to just go ahead and kill the guy in the fancy white suit rather than risk being taken back to SHIELD, and after all, what’s this unarmed guy going to do? Apparently be the smarter guy in the room, as a flick of his wrist upon entering the room has already won the day for Mr. Knight. He took down an opponent who didn’t even realize that he had been hit.

Back before New York, Marc Spector met with a doctor about his multiple personalities, and the doctor gave him a revelation. He doesn’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder. He simply has Khonshu, and the four aspects of the Egyptian God that granted him his returned life. He has brain damage, but he’s not crazy. He simply has a God inhabiting his brain.

So maybe just a little bit crazy.

 

What I liked:

  • Detective Flint and his “Moon Knight Task Force” is not unlike the old Punisher Task Force. You’ve got young gun cops who think “Holy crap, that’s the guy we’re supposed to stop!” and then you’ve got the old vets who see all the benefits of working in line with a vigilante that wants their job. If this costumed idiot wants to put his life on the line to stop the bad guy, then why not let him?

  • The explanation for Marc’s insanity is a pretty good one. The four personalities bit has been there for as long as I’ve known about the character, but it always seems to change what they are from writer to writer. In one overly explained page, Ellis has managed to make sense out of all of them.

  • The all white suit look is awesome. There is really something to be said about ditching the superhero tights for a three piece suit; it’s incredibly unique.

  • I can’t even pretend to have been familiar with the art team prior to this issue, but whoa! They’re on my radar now! I absolutely loved the visual in this issue. Declan did a great job differentiating the gritty nature of the cops, crime scenes, and monsters, from the entirely professional look of Mr. Knight in his suit. Then, I can’t forget to credit colorist Jordie Bellaire who does an absolutely phenomenal job here. Not just in keeping Knight entirely white, but in making everything else so dark and/or colorful. This issue is a visual treat.

  • Moon Knight is smart, like, scary smart. Like a crazy Batman.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • A lot of the Spector stuff felt glossed over in favor of showcasing the intense and badass nature of the All-New Moon Knight. I have no doubt it will all be made up for soon, but the prelude and epilogue felt a little out of place in terms of pacing.

 

Final thoughts:

This book was an impulse buy. A snowstorm a few states over made Thursday into new comics day, and that led to me picking up a few things digital that I wouldn’t have. It also meant that I got to my LCS on Thursday and my stack just felt….small. Like, too damn small. So then I see Moon Knight sitting on the staff picks shelf, and I remember that Magneto disappointed me, but I still said screw it and grabbed it.

I have no regrets.

I’ve tried Moon Knight books before, like that David Finch one a few years back….that was awful. And then the Bendis/Maleev one where they failed to make me give a damn about Moon Knight. He’s not a character I expect to like, and to be honest, he’s not really a character that I want to like, but I gave Warren Ellis a shot and he made me want to come back for more. The book is smart, it’s modern, and it feels like a much more grounded take on a city dealing with a vigilante problem. There is no attempt to follow the trope of cops hunting him down because he’s a crazy psycho killer, there’s just an acceptance that so long as they ignore that he’s Moon Knight, they can accept his help in solving the crimes and stopping the criminals that put them in the most danger.

Replacing Moonie’s D.I.D. with Khonshu’s all powerful essence is a cool touch. If he’s actually empowered by an ancient God, then it would make more sense for it to be the deciding factor in his so-called insanity, rather than assume an all powerful being would choose the craziest guy with a gun to be its avatar. Plus, this is Warren Ellis, if anybody was going to be able to pull this off, it’s him.

I really REALLY like it when I pick up a new book and artists I’d never heard of wind up on my watch list.

So I’m all in with this book, for the time being, but I will admit to having zero clue where it’s going, and that I have no intention of going to the solicits to try and figure it out. I came in blind and loved this issue, so now that’s going to be my routine for this book.

Overall: 9/10

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