Moon Knight is back! Or is he? I don’t know, and neither does he.
Moon Knight in his modern form had an explosive and attention grabbing start by Ellis and Shalvey that understandably hasn’t been repeated since they left. Wood and Smallwood came close at times but stumbled a bit. Bunn and Ackins seemed to limp to the finish line lacking much in the way of inspiration. At some level, Wood, Bunn and now Lemire have been trying to follow what Warren Ellis did with the character but only manage to grasp aspects and not the whole. More than Wood, Lemire seems to want to focus on Spector’s being mentally unhinged. This has long been established as part of the character, but stories focusing just on that tend to be poor ones compared to the rest.
“What if Marc Spector really is CRAZY?”. “What if Moon Knight was in a weird prison?”. I’ve seen these stories, I saw them in the last two runs. I’m not expecting something entirely fresh and new, but it would be nice to get back to basics with Moon Knight fighting street crime instead of chasing a dog in circles that may never be caught.
For his part, Greg Smallwood seems to have stepped up his game since he drew for the title. While I was puzzled to see he was returning as artist for a new writer, he adds a sense of continuation for the series which I’m sure was fully intended. His style may not change entirely during dream panels and those showing “reality”, but there’s clear indicators for both that make them feel recognizable and semi-connected. His cross hatching adds a grimy and layered feel to this story that makes want to drink in every detail. His visuals of a New York City overtaken with Egyptian architecture and sand is striking and grand. The flashback scenes of the Monech/Sienkiewicz looks faithful and appropriate to the character’s history.
On the surface, Lemire’s script isn’t bad exactly. He brings in some of Marc’s former supporting cast which I’ve been wanting for some time, but I’m not sure if they will actually be part of the plot going forward. Also Marc’s makeshift costume reminds me a lot of the KKK Klansman uniforms which knowing his Jewish heritage, makes me uncomfortable. The story feels very Shutter Island meets The Butterfly Effect to me. I’m sick of these fake outs stemming from Marc’s supposed DID and I’m altogether sick of underwhelming Moon Knight stories. By this point, it feels like Marvel is just publishing him because they can and it only makes me wish they would let him rest a while until someone comes up with another take that works for the character instead of trying to recreate Ellis’ brilliance.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent