Moon Knight #1 Review


Writer: Warren Ellis

Artist: Declan Shalvey

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Review by Suzanne Nagda

I like eccentric origin stories. Even incredibly zany ones like Spider-Woman or Cable are so characteristic of comics as a medium. Moon Knight is no stranger to a complex origin tale–he’s a mercenary brought back to life by a mystical Egyptian god (Khonshu) who fights for redemption in a bright white suit and mask. That makes perfect sense, right?

Warren Ellis seems fully conscious of Moon Knight’s potential for absurdity. He plays it straight and brings readers in on the ground level. The book opens with a blogger talking about Moon Knight and his return to New York. Word is out that he has dissociative identity disorder–a relatively new diagnostic term for multiple personality disorder. Marc Spector’s on the side of the angels now and works (unofficially) with Detective Flint, who handles the “freak beat stuff.” The opening dialogue feels reminiscent of Gotham Central and mixes police procedural scenes with the unpredictable heroics of Spector. He’s just crazy enough to do the things that the police wouldn’t dare. But will his psychiatric issues undermine his resolve to fight crime?

I’ll try not to geek out about the artwork on this issue. Declan Shalvey makes relatively straightforward scenes feel memorable. He draws Moon Knight descending into the sewers with such detail and focus on perspective. Jordie Bellaire’s colors are gorgeous and subtle–I like the use of negative space with Moon Knight’s white suit. The colors transition to a more muted palette to complement the quieter moments of the book.

The Verdict: Definitely buy. It’s a first issue worthy of your attention despite featuring a relatively minor character. I didn’t know Moon Knight from Adam before this book. Yet Ellis and Shalvey seem like the perfect team to bring his adventures to a wider audience. Marc Spector is a character that’s equal parts compelling and bizarre–I’m looking forward to learning more about him. That alone makes this book and its concept stand out on the shelves.

Moon Knight brings much-needed diversity to the world of superheroes. How many superheroes with a mental illness can you think of off-hand? Now list off a few villains who have psychiatric problems. That’s an issue worthy of a broader conversation in itself. Thankfully, Ellis does his research about psychiatric illnesses and brings a more grounded realism to Spector’s problems and the stigma surrounding mental health.

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