As has become commonplace these days, a character nearing their MCU debut, in this case Moon Knight, is getting a new comic series. Following in the footsteps of Shang-Chi (2021) and Eternals (2021), most recently, Marc Spector is returning to the spotlight in Marvel Comics for the first time since Max Bemis wrote the series in 2018.
Jed MacKay takes a deliberately different and interesting angle to the past few creative teams regarding the focus of the series by drawing Spector’s religious relationship to Khonshu into the series’ foreground as readers see the character open up the Midnight Mission.
This becomes a touchstone of the issue, as Spector, typically cast as a psychosis-ridden loner, is presented as much more of a friendly neighborhood Moon Knight. Whether it’s in his relationships with the issue’s criminals or his new parishioners, he’s written as straddling the line between threatening and protective in an endearing sort of way. In reality, MacKay struggles to balance the bitterness the character has often exuded in this new status quo, and lands in a spot that seems largely committed to neither.
Additionally, MacKay struggles to get a handle on Spector’s voice. Rather than the anxiety and vengeance-driven voice he would typically exude, he’s too often peaceful, confident and sanitary. This means that the book rarely, if ever, displays that same anxiety-inducing tone that has largely characterized Moon Knight stories in the past.
This isn’t to say that MacKay’s script is bad. He excels in structuring a story with strong pacing, a clear direction and feels prepped to come crashing down on Spector himself by the time the issue concludes. Every new character feels deliberately introduced, and meant to play a specific role going forward. In that, they often have their story telegraphed out in front of them, but it’s that telegraphed challenge for Spector that makes the series most intriguing.
Outside of this, the issue is very clearly aimed at new readers, which wouldn’t often be a problem, but with this being the fourth Moon Knight #1 in six years it can feel repetitive when the basics of the character are reintroduced. Furthermore, the story has a clear lack of continuity with previous efforts, something which should be attractive to new readers and somewhat frustrating to returning ones.
What makes more of an impression than any of this, though, is Alessandro Cappuccio’s art. They’ve clearly taken a lot of inspiration from Declan Shalvey’s milestone run on the series, and this is where the book finds its sense of continuity. Whether as Mr. Knight or Moon Knight, Cappuccio is recreating all the iconic elements of the attire to a T. Even Shalvey’s unique, scratchy shading is displayed in pretty full force here.
Then of course the subtle glow of Moon Knight’s white garb, and the crescent moon cape return to give each page Moon Knight is on a feeling of excitement and suspense that the script alone fails to deliver.
Somewhat more intriguing is how Cappuccio is only replicating Shalvey’s work when it comes to the depiction of Moon Knight himself. Other characters, backgrounds and flashbacks are all illustrated with a much cleaner touch. Some scenes even invoke a more two-dimensional Sara Pichelli, which is such a stark contrast to how Moon Knight is depicted.
It’s a contrast that serves to make the book more visually interesting, but can feed into the book’s somewhat sanitary tone and feel.
This is a somewhat slow start for a character which has traditionally taken off with a bang and a clatter time and time again. However, the somewhat inconsistent tone and off-kilter handling of Spector’s voice don’t have the ability to overpower the strong story structure and really exciting art. MacKay and Cappuccio promise more than this singular issue would let on.
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