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'Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection' belongs on your shelf
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection’ belongs on your shelf

Beautiful from end to end, approachable, and worth the time.

Moon Knight is a character I’ve found difficult to get into. His history is complicated, and I don’t even really know if there’s a good jumping on point that isn’t the beginning. Bad news is, Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s Complete Collection didn’t fill me in completely. Good news is, it did present a great entry point, a complete story, and some of the best art you’ll find in comics. 

The approachability of this book is one of its greatest strengths. It opens with Marc in a mental hospital, and slowly introduces everything important about the character across the series. There are plenty of places where I felt like I was missing something, particularly where different members of the cast are concerned, but I never felt completely lost. Some of my favorite parts were where I was made to be just as disoriented as Marc was, which would have been annoying if it wasn’t a feat of storytelling by an incredible group of creators. 

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And the creators! Smallwood has become a genuine superstar since and because of this, but his work here is wonderful. The book is basically a highlight reel of him outdoing himself, from the New York skyline to the sketchy charcoal of Khonshu. It seems like Smallwood makes a hundred different decisions in each issue he worked on that all work together to tell the story in the most interesting and aesthetically beautiful way possible here, and it makes the whole comic a delight to read. 

Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection
Marvel Comics

Joining Smallwood in the middle chapters are Stokoe, Francavilla, and Torres, who all do incredible work, and are perfectly fitted to their stories. Moon Knight fighting werewolves on the moon by James Stokoe is something that I’m not sure I could ever get enough of, but I’m happy with what I got.

The special sauce of the collection, though, is Jordie Bellaire and her wonderful colors. Bellaire helped define Moon Knight with her colors with the relaunch preceding this one, and she continued to have great impact throughout this run. 

Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection
Marvel Comics

Her choice to color everything around Moon Knight and create negative space with his costume is a brilliant one that constantly keeps him as the focal point of every page, and uses the panel borders in interesting ways. She’s one of the best to ever do it, and she does astoundingly well here. 

This collection’s main strength is definitely its art, but there’s a ton to appreciate, even as a relative Moon Knight novice. The structure of the series is a real highlight, and felt fine-tuned for staying interesting and engaging throughout the run. Starting off with the hospital plot allowed for a simple hook for me to be interested and engaged, and from there it went deeper into Moon Knight lore, pulling in previous characters and eventually his dissociative identity disorder, his Jewish heritage, and his origin. The series builds these ideas up, not unlike a scaffold, where each supports what comes next in a satisfying way. I particularly love the way the origin comes in late in the series, where it feels like it matters more because of the context the rest of the series provided, it also because of the way it dovetailed with everything else. 

The length of the series was also effective, as it gave the team room to address the complicated parts without being too rushed, but also isn’t an unwieldy length. Typically I don’t find evergreen titles to be Marvel’s strength, but this collection can fit on any fan’s shelf and can easily be read by most anyone. Whether the coming Disney+ series pulls from it is anyone‘s guess, but it’s nice for comic shops (and people who make reading lists) to have this in print to point new fans toward. 

Really, though, if this collection is just an excuse to look at beautiful art by some of the best in comics, that’s worth it. I’m happy this run is available in a more accessible way now, and hopefully more readers can get a hold of it, because it’s extremely worth it. 

'Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection' belongs on your shelf
‘Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection’ belongs on your shelf
Moon Knight By Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection
Even if you aren’t a fan of the character, this book will fit in on your shelf. Beautiful from end to end, approachable, and worth the time.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Werewolves on the moon???
Bellaire!!!!!
Smallwood!!!
9
Great
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