Moon Knight 1-6 (or how I battled myself and won, all the while saving others)

Warren Ellis and Declan Shalveys (with coloring from Jordie Bellaie) run on Moon Knight was something of an oxymoron. On the one hand Ellis’ story telling was dark and grungy, drawing from the title characters mental illness. Whereas Shalveys art had a focus on contrasting elements, the white of a glove versus the pitch black shadow of the beyond, and often times bright striking colors. It was this contradiction in styles that was the driving force behind the greatness of the comic.Ellis’ story telling style was often a one-and-done issue. That being an entire story encapsulated within one comic, reminiscent of comic books from the silver era, but with each new comic a thread or two of continuity was shown. This was successful in doing two things. First it made each comic in the arc enjoyable to read in and of itself. This made the book approachable by even the most laid back of comic readers. Secondly it rewarded the more faithful readers for their loyalty. Issue one focused on the return of Moon Knight to New York. It did a good job of introducing Marc Spector, while still keeping him shrouded in mystery. Ellis also briefly touched on Moon Knights history of mental illness, while not  letting it be the focus. Also at the end of the book we get a nice introduction to Khonshu, the Egyptian diety who “gave” Marc Spector his abilities. On the surface Issues two through five served as character development and a chance to showcase Shalveys amazing art. At closer inspection you see Ellis is building a tension between Moon Knight at the police force. The NYPD is none to happy about Moon Knights vigilante crime fighting spree, but time and time again are forced to rely on him. All of this comes to a head in issue six when an old police officer from issue one comes back to assume the identity of one of Moon Knights foes “The Black Spectre”. Officer Trent Ryan becomes obsessed with Moon Knight after he is told he wouldn’t be needed any more on a case once Moon Knight got involved. This obsession costs him his job, his girlfriend and eventually his life. With that Ellis’ short run on Moon Knight goes full circle.

Shalveys and Bellaires work on the art for this comic cannot be understated. Every art decision he made on this arc was successful. From the constantly high contrast of Moon Knights attire and limo to the superb paneling on issue two, right down to the lettering choices for Moon Knight and Khonshu. Shalvey and Bellaire really delivered. My favorite issue from the run was issue number four. In this book we see Moon Knight crossing over into a realm of drug induced nightmares. The artwork is phenomenal. The contrast from the dark brown and blacks of the real world to the fluorescent greens and blues of the dream world pounded home that Moon Knight was a real contender in the Marvel Universe.
Overall Ellis’ and Shavelys Moon Knight story arc was incredibly fun and entertaining. It payed homage to the Moon Knight that came before while staying out of the trap of over using his mental illness. To me that was the greatest success of this tun of Moon Knight. To many times before writers made the mistake of not letting Moon Knight grow into his own character. Ellis and Shavely not only let him grow, they let him flourish.

Story: 8/10

Art: 9/10

Overall: 8.5/10

-Andrew Horton


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