This review was written by guest writer and Stash My Comics user Kenny Yeager.
“Who is Marc Spector?” When I first heard about a new run of Moon Knight at the hands of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, two of my favorite forces in today’s industry, this was the first question I asked myself. Barring his presence in Activision’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance, I knew nothing about who he was. Now, having read the first issue of this new Moon Knight run, I’m inclined to say not even Marc Spector knows who he is. Consider this your spoiler alert. What follows contains elements of the storyline of Moon Knight #1 and some of my own speculation. Ye have been warned.
I should have figured, even from the cover and promo art, that things would not be what they seemed in Moon Knight #1. Were I familiar with Mark Spector’s previous trends toward dissociative identity disorder, I probably have guessed that there was something to Moon Knight’s seemingly riding Captain America’s shield, his hands replaced with Wolverine’s claw and Spider-Man’s webshooter. However, I honestly didn’t think anything of it at the time.
A little backstory on me: I prefer to let narrators tell stories in their own ways rather than jumping to my own conclusions. That said, when the Avengers showed up at Spector’s party in LA, I thought nothing significant about their presence. He’s an experienced hero setting up shop on the west coast, and he’s one of the few heroes in the area. When the Avengers come knocking, enlisting his aid against the organized crime figures relocating to the west coast, it seemed a reasonable enough encounter. Though in hindsight, even that encounter doesn’t seem like something that should be taken at face value. Still, I waited for Bendis to show his hand on his terms. Then, at the end of the comic, Spector stands before the Avengers, discussing the head of an Ultron acquired on his mission to find out who the new LA kingpin is. On the very last page, Spector is seen talking to himself as if the Avengers were still present in the room. It leaves readers, myself included, to question whether they were ever there at all. In fact, by comic’s end, there are for more questions than answers to be found. Were the Avengers ever in LA to begin with? Was he ever appointed as LA’s guardian, or was this merely something he unkowingly decided for himself? Though he’s had multiple personalities in the past, are these Avengers mere delusions, or will he soon act out as these Avengers in addition to himself?
If I have learned to expect anything in my short time with comics, it’s that Bendis usually writes what he does for a reason. As a standalone issue, Moon Knight #1 is not phenomenal. It promises much but postpones delivery on nearly everything. It’s well written, I’d even call it gripping, and I’ve read it at least a couple of times now. However, the way that it spends so much time in what seems like setting up for the rest of the series makes it a less than perfect issue on its own.Then again, it is the first issue in a new run, a run in which Bendis promised to completely reinvent Moon Knight. It’d be unfair to expect a sense of completeness and a total rebuilding of a character in a single issue. And, if there’s anything I can say that this issue of Moon Knight does especially well, it’d be building anticipation for the series’ future.
Of course, the comic would not be complete without Maleev’s work. Still being new to the comic book medium, I must admit that my descriptive vocabulary is presently lacking. Though I can’t articulate my thoughts on Maleev’s work with technical precision, I must say that I love his approach to Moon Knight. The art is dark and gritty, especially well suited for the seedy underworld that Moon Knight goes hunting in. There is also something of a throwback element to his work; the lines and textures used forgo the glossy, semi-realistic appearance of many modern comics, favoring what I can only describe as feeling like a comic book approach to classic film noir.
Overall, I consider Moon Knight #1 a decent first issue that shows a lot of promise for the issues to come. As an additional note, you don’t need to have previous Moon Knight experience to enjoy and understand this issue, but there are elements of the story that will have more meaning to those already familiar with the character’s past. Still, whether you buy now or wait for a TPB release, this new Bendis/Maleev run of Moon Knight doesn’t look like something to pass up indefinitely. Personally, I wait to see what’s next.
Script – 8/10. Well paced, easy to follow, and hard to put down. Emphasis on setup rather than delivery (raising more questions than giving answers) keeps it shy of perfection in my eyes.
Art – 9/10. Excellent. Perfectly suited to the story. No complaints. I just don’t give 10’s unless my mind is altogether blown.
Adieu, mes amis,
Kenny Yeager is a complete comic book n00b and Stash My Comics is totally cool with that.