Sharp Dressed Man: Moon Knight vol. 1 (2014)

I never read Moon Knight as a kid. I remember an in comic add I saw of him once, thought it was bad ass, but never picked up the book. The character has been around since 1975 and has over the years had a number of books under the name. Moon Knight has been in the Avengers but I never really sat down and read a book he stared in until now.

So if you are not familiar with Marc Spector, Moon Knight he is basically crazy Batman. Okay longer story Marc Spector was the son of a rabbi that grew up to become a mercenary that died and returned to life as the avatar of an Egyptian moon god with multiple personalities and an infinite bank account.

Again bat-shit crazy Batman except his symbol is the crescent moon.

A character like this can be handled well or really badly. He is a Batman like character and a poor writer can turn him into a cardboard cut-out Bruce Wayne real quick. Luckily Mr. Spector has Warren Ellis on duty for words and Declan Shalvey on pencils.

The version of Moon Knight presented in what was a six issue mini-series encapsulates what makes the character tick but in a format that what you do when dealing with tricky characters.

Each issue seems to highlight an aspect of Moon Knight’s fractured personality and that is also carried over to design of Mr. Spector himself. In a move I don’t think I’ve seen often Moon Knight gets two costumes. The first which we see in the issue one is an all-white suit complete with a vest and matching mask. When wearing the suit Spector is called Mr. Knight and is a consultant with the NYPD on weird cases. It is weird sight of white breaking up the police grey reality.

The second costume is a variation on the all-white suit people know. This is seem in the second issue and in issues where the Moon Knight deals with more superhero-y stuff.

As a collected work, Moon Knight works because Warren Ellis keeps each issue tight. Except for the last issue there isn’t a lot linking the stories. Most of the issues can be seen as stand-alone tales. There is a TV show quality in the best sense; each story concludes and you want to immediately read the next. Ellis is helped by Declan Shalvey’s artwork and design. Shalvey handles each story deftly from street level violence to psychedelic trips. Shalvey’s work on this book should be seen for how he handles the white outline of the Moon Knight alone.

One thing I think that helps frame this series is that Warren Ellis incorporates the crazy. As a character the Moon Knight is known for his mental instability (like I said many call him crazy Batman). Ellis makes use of this and also the more supernatural elements of Marc Spector’s origin as an avatar for the Egyptian god Khonshu.

Okay let me try to end this quick by describing my favorite bits. Issue five, Scarlett, makes me think Moon Knight should be a candidate for a Netflix show; the floor the floor action is beautiful and brutal. Issue six, Spectre, is interesting because it takes a random throwaway line in issue one and creates this interesting character study. My other highlight is issue two which is a nice short work of ultraviolence.

So Moon Knight is like Batman; when you see either of them you go the other way.

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