Moon Knight #1 Writer: Jeff Lemire Pencils: Greg Smallwood Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Cory Petit Publisher: Marvel
Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley) has been fighting crime and keeping burglars, bank robbers, car jackers, etc off the streets in New York City for years, or has he?
The comic opens with Marc waking up in an insane asylum as just an ordinary man, no powers, with a long list of medical records to prove that he’s been there for some-time. His whole identity and alter ego are put into question with the culprit possibly being multiple personality disorder. There is definitely something troubling and not quite right within this asylum but is it Spector himself? Or is there something or someone else at play here?
I for one am unfamiliar with the character of Moon Knight. I’ve known of him and am aware the lure but have never taken the time to pick up one of his monthly titles or trades to catch up on some back issues. One of the reasons is because that Moon Knight has probably been rebooted, relaunched, and re-visioned more times than any other character in comic books (something that comes to the issues favor). So it’s difficult to care when you could place your bets that the series numbering won’t even get into the twenties. However the premise that was announced with this series along with the addition of the superb talent of Jeff Lemire caught my intrigue.
Lemire is a busy guy over at Marvel, already writing Extraordinary X-Men, Old Man Logan, All New Hawkeye, and now Moon Knight. Add that on top of his indie books such as Descender and I don’t know where the man finds time to sleep.
This issue does a fantastic job of building up its mysterious synopsis and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even when you think you have it all figured out, Lemire throws another twist at you to really make you rethink what exactly is going on. Is Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon God real and is communicating with Marc or is it all in his head? Is he truly insane? Are all those stories of Moon Knights heroic tales the imagination of a mental patient? Does this explain the constant reboots, revisions, and alterations of the character?
If one had to define this debut issue it would not be a superhero book, it’s a psychological thriller, mystery, and horror book. Filled with atmosphere and suspense.
However, if there was a gripe with this installment it would be the cartoonish attitude of the hospital staff. I get it, they’re evil and should have a lawsuit on their hands for how inhumane they treat their patients but it’s too over the top. Had Lemire been a bit more subtle about it it would’ve added more to the mystery and the tone would have been more even throughout the characters.
The art team in this book delivers superb job. Greg Smallwood’s pencils are top notch and when we get the reveal of what’s going on, or at least when we think we get the reveal, it’s a stunning splash page visual. The two settings are different enough to help keep the nagging question of which reality is real? Jordie Bellaire’s colors are able to set the mood of a very grim and claustrophobic atmosphere. It helps set the feel of the mental asylum as all the more uneasy and unsettling. The comic’s visuals are just sensational and captures the tone that Lemire has set brilliantly.
Jeff Lemire’s first installment into the character of Moon Knight is as much of a “hook, line, and sinker” debut issue as they come. The psychological thriller, mystery, and horror premise of this is refreshing and intriguing. It does what a debut issue needs too which is establish the characters, environment, status quo, and grab our investment to return for the next issue. With outstanding artwork that builds the mood and atmosphere as well as capturing the tone and vibe of the story, this is a series that everyone should jump on.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach