Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Declan Shalvey
Far too often Moon Knight is relegated to merely being little more than Marvel’s violent and crazy version of Batman. In the past writers and artists have taken one of two paths, violent or crazy, and amped that feature up to separate Moon Knight from Batman. David Finch’s path was a far more violent Moon Knight while Brian Michael Bendis’ Moon Knight focused on the crazy. Warren Ellis, in one issue, has found a way to balance both. Moon Knight is part Batman and part Rorschach in this issue, yet at the same time these comparisons fail to completely grasp the depth of the character that Ellis is bringing to Moon Knight.
Warren Ellis creates a noir world for Moon Knight to inhabit, showing him as an intelligent fighter and skilled tactician. This standalone issue shows his overall detective skills with the addition of his pure ability to quickly size up opponents and approach them within an appropriate manner. It is important to note that Moon Knight’s detective skills share more with Sherlock Holmes than Batman which helps separate this from just a Batman rip-off. This is a much more patient and skilled Moon Knight than seen in previous incarnations. He has a cavalier flare about him as he deals with the police which also shows he has a great self-awareness. Ellis writes a fantastic intimate character portrayal that is welcoming to those new to Moon Knight but is also a fresh yet familiar enough of a take on this fan favorite figure.
Declan Shalvey’s art will most likely be the hardest sale on this book. I personally think it is fantastic, but the indie feel he brings is in the same arena as Maleev and Aja, yet still all his own. It is obvious Marvel has fared extremely well with the personal character and odd personalities such as Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man and is attempting to add indie credibility to another title with Shalvey’s style which is an extreme departure to the sleek and clean styles of many mainstream titles. I think this is a great thing for the mainstream industry. While artists like Shalvey may not have a style as clean and sexy as Jim Lee or the like, often their ability to tell stories stands spectacularly beyond the popular artists. Shalvey not only lifts the story to new heights with his art, he immediately puts us into a dark and gritty world, bringing a perfect setting to the world Ellis is trying to create.
I love this title, yet I have to admit I am a Warren Ellis fan boy. I think Ellis is to comics as King Midas was to everything, so I may be a bit biased on my review. I do think if you are more interested in fast action and intense drama which echoes throughout continuity like X-Men or Avengers this may not be the book for you. But if you enjoy the quiet character studies of Hawkeye or the recent Black Widow series, this may be a book right up your alley (pun kind of intended).
Rating 5 out of 5