Comic Book of the Day: Moon Knight #1 (2016)
Welcome to Comic Book of the Day! In this space I'll highlight a comic book, past or present, that I find noteworthy. I do my best not to post spoilers, but I'll try my best to tag any that may come up in the future. NOTE: The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They do not reflect those of any third party or their affiliates.
Moon Knight #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood
Cover: Greg Smallwood
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Marc Spector has been many things over the years: Mercenary. Cabbie. Avenger. However, if there's one constant in his life it's that he's batshit insane. Oh, and he's possessed by an Egyptian god known as Konshu. Okay, so that's two things. Sue me. Many writers of Moon Knight's adventures have dealt with the character's erratic mental state in one way or another. Some have been very successful whereas others would have been better left to work on other projects instead.
As somebody who's not particularly fond of his writing most times, Ellis' brief run on the title in 2014 was nothing short of amazing. Ellis found a way to hone in on Spector's Dissociative Identity Disorder, without resorting to cartoonish means of explaining it. Successor Brian Wood (Demo) seemed to flounder afterwards, unable to find a balance between the superheroics and the drama. Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) did his absolute best as always, but not even his genius could've saved that title.
Prior to his recent Marvel titles, I had very little reference when it came to Jeff Lemire. With the exception of Vertigo's Sweet Tooth, he just wasn't on my radar. With that said, Lemire is flat-out crushing it on All-New Hawkeye. The visuals are very reminiscent of Matt Fraction's popular run, but Lemire has crafted a tale that holds weight and gives Clint Barton and Kate Bishop a dynamic that hasn't been seen before.
Lemire's Moon Knight feels like a true follow-up to the Ellis run. Spector finds himself in a mental institution run by deceptive therapists and abusive orderlies, all the while questioning his past and his present. Are the conversations we're reading truly happening? Are the people in this asylum real? Just when you think you have a handle on where the story is going to go, it jerks the wheel and turns the whole thing around. You're never quite sure which aspects of Marc's interactions are genuine, and Lemire frames it in such a way where the reader may find themselves questioning their own mental state by the end of the book. That description may come off like I'm throwing shade at Lemire, but it's meant to be complimentary. This book doesn't so much hold your hand as it does yank it and drag you with it, damning the consequences.
Greg Smallwood's art works as well here as it did in the previous volume of Moon Knight, especially with the somewhat frantic nature of the storyline. The true star in the art department is Jordie Bellaire. I'm a writer in my spare time and I usually follow comics because of whomever is penning the script. Lately, however, I'm becoming more aware of the comic artists I enjoy and Bellaire's colors are among some of the best I've seen. She and Declan Shalvey were a dynamite art team on Warren Ellis' run on this title and Smallwood's pencil work really pops with Jordie in tow, especially in the opening sequences.
Time will tell whether or not I stick with this title, but for the time being I'm thoroughly enjoying this latest iteration of Moon Knight, but this was a very strong first issue.
Pros: Lemire's story captivates and frustrates. Amazing color work from Jordie Bellaire
Cons: The book may not translate well for newcomers to the Moon Knight mythos.