The Fist of Khonshu is heading out west for his all new solo title. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are putting Moon Knight back in the spotlight, with a little LA flavor for good measure.
Previously, on Moon Knight: Some years ago, the ex-mercenary and millionaire known as Marc Spector (amongst other aliases) took up the mantle of Moon Knight, avatar of the Egyptian god of vengeance, Khonshu. His sanity and originality have been questioned, but with the legitimacy provided by Avengers membership, Moon Knight is bringing his dark brand of vigilantism to the West Coast.
SETTING THE TABLE
Moon Knight’s never gotten the respect of a Spider-Man or Daredevil, but maybe with Bendis and Maleev on the case, the character will finally get the cachet he deserves. The issue opens with Marc Spector producing an explicitly Xena-styled TV show based on his time as Moon Knight… which seems like pretty poor cover for a engaging in Moon Knight-y vigilante activities, but whatever. Marc Spector couldn’t stop fighting crime if his life depended on it, and that’s what we love about him.
It seems like Marvel’s criminal element has finally figured out that 98% of America’s superpowers operate out of NYC, making it a really dumb place to commit crime. So some smart bad guys have moved out to Los Angeles (which we all know to be a pretty crime-free place otherwise) and Moon Knight has followed. This setting suits Bendis’s writerly quirks. His staccato back and forth verbal exchanges fit the noir-like setting. I haven’t always enjoyed that style in the Avengers titles, but it works much better here in a street setting. The scene where two henchmen banter about whether their boss should give them superpowers exemplifies
Bendis sets up a simple story from the start. There are some hoods working for an unnamed supervillain, trying to collect something mysterious from another supervillain (strangely, this is Mr. Hyde, who I thought was on The Raft trying out for the Thunderbolts, but whatever). Brawls ensue, a boat gets levitated and Moon Knight kicks some ass. The final swerve underscores Marc Spector’s tenuous grasp on sanity, but it’s much too predictable to be surprising. I didn’t see any evidence of the gamechanging take on Moon Knight promised by the promo material, but the issue was enough fun that I wasn’t bothered in the least. Plus there’s a clever macguffin.
READS GOOD, LOOKS GREAT
I love what Alex Maleev is doing with the art in this issue. Maleev employs a gritty, grainy style that’s a world apart from the usual slick style employed in mainstream books. His scratchy pencil lines might not be to everyone’s taste, but it fits well with noirish vibe Bendis seems to be giving the book. Matthew Wilson’s color washes the page in shadow, making everything dark enough to be creepy while still readable. It’s right up my alley, stylistically. Maleev is given some room to really stretch his wings, with a few splash pages that just plain look awesome. Sometimes splash pages seem like a good excuse for some padding, but that’s not the case here.
CHECK IT OUT
If you’re not a Moon Knight fan, it’s not a must-read, but it’s worth a look. There’s a lot of potential, and I hope Bendis continues making use of the LA setting to set the book apart from the usual NYC-centric Marvel books. Maleev and Wilson’s art goes a long way towards making the whole thing work. This is a very good start to the series.
Moon Knight #1 exhibits 6 thups, 4 puts, 3 buddas, 3 cracks, 2 clangs, 1 rrrumble, 1 kerplunk, 1 vvrooommmm followed shortly after by a vvrooom, a bam, a crunch, a whump and a fump. There are also 2 chest shootings, 2 chest kickings 2 crushed skulls, 1 game of catch-the-van, and a fist, Moonarang and fire extinguisher to the face and 1 executive producer credit for Marc Spector. 3.5 out of 5 stars.