Just three issues in, and Warren Ellis' Moon Knight has me wondering if I can change my favorite new Marvel Comics book this year from She-Hulk to Moon Knight (at least until I read the next issue of Charles Soule's great new series). There's little more that can be said about Warren Ellis' writing talents, except that they haven't diminished one bit over the years and his stint on Moon Knight is already shaping up to be a character defining one.
Marc Spector/Moon Knight is one of those slippery Marvel Comics' characters who defies consistent presentation. He's a mercenary, but also a supernaturally powered super-hero. He's a Batman like character topically (he has plenty of wonderful toys), but once you drill down into Spector's psyche, it quickly reveals itself to be a much more splintered place than Bruce Wayne's ever was. While this might make for an interesting character, it makes for a tough one to portray. Should his stories be gritty urban crime based ones, sci-fi gadget driven ones, soldier of fortune ones, or supernaturally tinged ghost-busting ones? How about all of them, just more smartly put together?
That's what Ellis is doing with his new Marvel Comics' stint as writer on Moon Knight (2014). So far we've managed to get a sci-fi tinged story, a rogue soldier of fortune mystery, and now a supernatural thriller. All three different story themes blend into one another effortlessly. They avoid the disparity that many other Moon Knight series have displayed over the years through Ellis' strong characterization of the man behind the Moon Knight mask: Marc Spector. Instead of Spector having multiple personalities (as he's so often portrayed) he here instead has many different modus operandis instead. The consistency to how the character operates and approaches his tasks is what solidifies him though.
Ellis' taunt consistency of character wouldn't be nearly as powerful and compelling without Declan Shalvey's haunted pencil work. Awesomely detailed and powerfully kinetic, Shalvey not only creates a visual feast panel by panel, he delivers a consistent kinetic look for Moon Knight that keeps the character, regardless of what crime-fighting outfit he might be wearing, recognizable physically beyond the tale-tell moon symbols and gadgets. His action choreography, especially during Moon Knight's battle with the spectral punks in this issue, is also top notch. There's no need for sound effects or even dialogue for several pages. The layouts and progressions are that good.
Moon Knight has always been an interesting character, even if he's been derided as the "Batman rip-off of the Marvel U." In Ellis' hands though, Moon Knight isn't just an interesting character, he's an essential one.