Smart, gritty, and genuinely crazy: as supernatural modern-noir mysteries go, Moon Knight is irresistible.
Far from portraying Moon Knight as a defective detective battling his dissociative identity disorder, with this first issue writer Warren Ellis seems poised to transform Marc Spector’s multiple personalities into assets rather than liabilities.
Spector is the avatar of the Egyptian god Khonshu and host to the god’s four different aspects. In struggling to deal with each aspect, his mind developed an additional personality: as Moon Knight, Spector seeks his own redemption for his dark past, while using his abilities to carry on Khonshu’s role as Pathfinder, Embracer, Defender, and the Watcher of overnight travelers.
Ellis picks up the story where it left off in the Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev run back in 2011, which is transitioned beautifully via a conversation about Moon Knight between a journalist who specializes in the “freak beat” and her editor.
As the white-suited Marc Spector pulls up to a grisly crime scene in his white limousine, the conversation concludes, “Why would you wear white, and a giant cape that looks like a moon, if you’re fighting crime and hunting faces at night?”
“Easy. He likes people to see him coming… Because he’s crazy.”
A master of distilling characters into their primary essences and building situations to capitalize on their best and worst attributes, Ellis presents Marc Spector as a talented detective working unofficially with the police to catch a serial killer. And we can expect Ellis to continue to use this relationship to test the limits of Spector’s detecting skills and the limits of his fractured personality.
Declan Shalvey’s art is the perfect complement to this new interpretation of Moon Knight. New York itself becomes a character, as Shalvey’s gritty streets imbue the characters with a sense of battle-weary skepticism that makes you wonder how Spector and the cops will ever be able to work together until Detective Flint says, “Pay attention to Mr. Knight. He thinks in a particular way.”
Shalvey uses the white suit to make Moon Knight stand apart from the night, and Jordie Bellaire’s dark color palette ensures that Spector appears as a black-and-white character superimposed on a Technicolor world.
It’s obvious that this creative team has a clear vision for this character and what they can achieve with the title. Issue #1 is a bold new direction for Moon Knight, so get this one on your pull list now.
Warren Ellis (W), Declan Shalvey (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99, March 5, 2014