All-New Marvel NOW! Moon Knight #1 Review | Fanboys Anonymous

All-New Marvel NOW! Moon Knight #1 Review

Posted by Orion Petitclerc Friday, March 7, 2014
Hello again, Fan-people! If you've been following my posts, you've probably been expecting this to come about. My pal and fellow Fanboys Anonymous writer Dan Ashley broke the news back in December about the All-New Marvel NOW! Moon Knight comic book series written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Declan Shalvey, and colored by Jordie Bellaire, so he beat me to that. Then we both collaborated on a three-part "Gearing Up" article series to prepare you guys and gals for the new series by reviewing Moon Knight's past appearances in comics and video games and demystified the hero's longstanding stereotype of being a Batman copycat. Today, however, I draw first blood in Dan and my lunar legionnaire lunacy by being the first between us to review the new series! (Take THAT, Dan!)

Read Moon Knight by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire on the Marvel Comics app and Comixology
I've been giddy about getting my hands on issue #1 since December, and let me tell you: the wait was totally worth it! Now, I'm not too familiar with Ellis' fame in the comic book medium, but I did read his work on Thunderbolts (Vol. 2) and Secret Avengers (Vol. 1) and enjoyed the heck out of those stories. I took it at face value when I read all of the positive reviews about Ellis' work and felt confident that, coming into this new Moon Knight series, I would enjoy it at the least. He ensured us that he's going to respect the character's rich history when he carves his own path with this book. After reading issue #1, I am extremely satisfied with his work and respect.

Follow Moon Knight's adventures in the Secret Avengers comic book series
We call this the "Mr. Knight Strut."
Ellis set out to accomplish four major goals, it seems, and has successfully done so. First, he delivered a book chock-full of references to past Moon Knight series. Continuity-wise, this series picks up right after Marc Spector's misadventures in Los Angeles from Brian Michael Bendis' 2012 Moon Knight limited series (volume 4). Additionally, Ellis heavily references Moon Knight's true origin story (see the "Gearing Up" articles if you're confused about what I mean by "true") and his first case with Detective Flint from Moon Knight #2 (volume 1). Second, Ellis made this book accessible, informative, and fun enough for new readers. Even if you haven't read the "Gearing Up" articles, Ellis does a stellar job getting us up to speed on who Moon Knight is and what he's all about.

See Marc Spector's first mental breakdown in Moon Knight #9–10 in Essential Moon Knight Volume 1
DID means "Dissociative Identity Disorder," if you're wondering.
Third, Ellis is finally straightening out what exactly is mentally wrong with Marc. Moon Knight has laid claim to being Marvel's "crazy Avenger," and past writers have done a great job at reminding us of how far over the cuckoo's nest Marc has flown. There have been different interpretations of his madness, all of which share a common theme, but I feel that none of them quite compares with the mystifying definition Ellis has created. He doesn't give us the whole answer yet, which really hooks the reader into picking up the next issue to find out more. I love the new explanation of Marc's madness, and I hope this really sticks as Moon Knight's indisputable canon and serves as a jumping-off/reference point for future writers to expand upon.

Follow Moon Knight's first case with the Skid-row Slasher in Moon Knight #2 by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz
Mr. Knight is so suave with his fancy dance moves.
Finally, Ellis delivered the weird crime story he promised. Moon Knight's essence has been tied to street-level weird crime ever since his debut in 1975, and although he has often strayed from the genre into more mystical and superheroic realms, Ellis managed to bring him back to basics. The villain of the story is no one big or well-known—in fact, this new Slasher who the story is titled after is a brand new, albeit short-lived character. As much as I've touted Moon Knight's A-list quality, his strengths are as a C-lister fighting other C- or D-listers, which is exactly the kind of villain the new and old Slashers were. Moon Knight deals with criminals and cases that are way beneath the Avengers' priorities but are still a significant and relevant threat to ordinary citizens and the police. Also, Ellis seems to be setting up the series' new format with this first issue: serialized weird crime one-offs with an overarching plot exploring Marc's psyche. I feel that this new series is going to read like one of those popular crime drama TV shows, and that may fit Moon Knight's style perfectly.

Follow Moon Knight from the very beginning in Essential Moon Knight Volumes 1–3 available on Amazon
This is quickly becoming readers' favorite quote from the book.
What really drew me into this new series outside of my fanaticism for all things Moon Knight, though, was the power couple of an art team. Shalvey and Bellaire are two of the hottest (international) comic book artists in the business right now, and for good reason. I became a fan of Shalvey's back during his "Toxic" story arc in the pages of Venom (volume 2), and now he's drawing my second-favorite Marvel character. Pair him up with Bellaire, and you've got your new master and mistress of the comic book art world. Shalvey has mastered his storytelling abilities, creating seamless transitions from panel to panel, and Bellaire's colors really pop with atmosphere and emotion, using primary colors as the dominant colors for full pages and scenes. Shalvey and Bellaire's choice to leave Moon Knight's character stark black-and-white with no gray wash or color shading gives the character his artistic edge over other superheroes and is probably one of the greatest artistic choices ever made in redefining a superhero's visual impact.

Follow Moon Knight's struggle with Khonshu in Vengeance of the Moon Knight on Comixology
Yeah, I know. That's how I felt, too, when I got to the end.
I had only one small gripe with this book, and that was its abrupt and cryptic ending. I get that Ellis was attempting to leave the reader wondering what the heck was going on, but without a typed-out "The End" or "To Be Continued" on the last panel and the sudden appearance of the "Going Postal" letters column at the turn of the page, it left me rather confused. I feel this may have been a failure mostly on the writer's part rather than the artist's, but nothing is perfect, and even the editor (Nick Lowe) can miss an opportunity for improvement.

This was a stellar start to what is sure to be a successful Moon Knight and All-New Marvel NOW! comic book series. With an all-star team at the helm for an undetermined length of time (hopefully for a few trades' worth of issues!), Moon Knight may finally get the attention and notoriety he's been waiting for and deserves. Oh, and Lowe's idea for the "Going Postal" letters column is novel and nostalgic: instead of emailing letters for print in future Moon Knight issues, fans are being asked to hand write their letters and send them to the editorial offices via postal mail. You can bet your firstborn I'll be writing in!

Moon Knight #1 gets 4.5 stars out of 5 for the truly epic writing and storytelling, and 5 stars out of 5 for the equally superior artwork. This is a definite must-buy for Moon Knight fans and casual/new readers alike. Look forward to another review with next month's issue.

Let's Play Marvel Heroes by Gazillion Entertainment and Secret Identity Studios

Oh, and before I forget: if you can't get enough of Moon Knight, I highly recommend playing Marvel Heroes, Marvel's Free-to-Play MMOARPG. Gazillion Entertainment and Secret Identity Studios just released a playable Moon Knight character last Friday, and I've been progressing him through the story and levels. This video game version of him is the best yet. His power sets are perfect for the character (short of cutting off the faces of his enemies, which I wanted to do so much!), he's great at crowd control, and Troy Baker does a superb job at voice acting for both Moon Knight and Khonshu, whose eerie presence sometimes chimes in during a fight. You can purchase Moon Knight in his "Classic Costume" or get his Hero Pack for the additional "Secret Avengers" costume, a special storage box for the character, a Retcon Device, and a few Fortune Cards. If you've been playing Marvel Heroes and have been accumulating Eternity Splinters, you can also purchase him in-game for 400 Eternity Splinters.

Liked the new and improved Mr. Knight? What did you like most about this issue, and what are you looking forward to from this series? Will you be mailing in to "Going Postal"? Let us know in the comments section below!

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