27th Jul2021

‘Moon Knight #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jed Mackay | Art by Alessandro Cappuccio | Published by Marvel Comics

Moon Knight is one of those characters that you always feel should be bigger than he is. Cool visuals, unique character set up and modus operandi, some great creative people working on him down the years, and yet he just can’t get over that second banana hump he is stuck behind. He’s had brief moments to shine, although for me nothing beats the incredible Doug Moench/ Bill Sienkiewicz run of the early eighties, the entire run of which I still own. I think his problem is that if anything he’s too adaptable. Want to write him as a street crime fighter? No problem. An ultra violent, unbalanced anti-hero? Yep, that works. A conventional superhero in a hero group? Yep, can do that too. A character steeped in mythology and legacy? No problem. Moon Knight, ironically for a character with several of them, has always lacked a definitive identity. Let’s see if Jed MacKay can fix that.

When I saw Jed MacKay was writing this millionth reboot of Moon Knight, it gave me a bit of optimism that this wouldn’t be another rehash or retread of what’s come before. I loved his Taskmaster take, and if he can find the hook that works on this book, I’ve no doubt this will be excellent. So, for those that came in late, Moon Knight is actually Marc Spector, a former mercenary who seemingly died and was then resurrected by the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. The deal being that Spector would fight evil in Khonshu’s name as his servant, literally a Knight of the Moon god. Things have gone a little off road down the years.

We start things off with a nice little character intro, as Moon Knight takes down a vampiric pyramid scheme. Seriously. Then, Tony Soprano like, Marc Spector is chatting to a therapist, which MacKay cleverly uses to do a quick character origin recap. Two things are of special note. One, as Marc has died multiple times in the past and come back, can he actually die at all? Secondly, as the Fist of Khonshu, is his role really to operate a quasi-religious mission to help the local community? Is that what Khonshu wanted, or what Marc wanted? I’m getting the feeling that Marc is taking for himself the prestige and attention that Khonshu expected for himself. I’m already liking the new direction and depth MacKay is giving this. Still, Moon Knight is doing good, such as here taking down Spider-villain Vermin to save a local tower block. Let’s not forget as well of course that not too long ago Khonshu did try and take over the world in the pages of The Avengers. He can get off that high horse right now.

As Marc explains to his therapist, it’s a strained relationship at times. He is Khonshu’s servant, yet dislikes him. Does his work, yet disapproves of what he sometimes does. Moon Knight is, in essence, a heretic. The heavy emphasis on the religious nature of Marc’s relationship shows you where MacKay intends to explore with his run, and the final pages hammer that home. A mystery villain wants to put the hurt on Moon Knight big time, and his weapon of choice will be to break his faith in his god. Not only that, but a new person has arrived in the local neighbourhood with a relationship to Khonshu of their own. One thing we never really thought about was that, even though Moon Knight is the Fist of Khonshu, Khonshu has two hands, and so two fists. This could get messy.

This was a superb soft reboot of a great character. The whole multiple identities thing was referenced but left to the side, a clever move by Jed MacKay, so the focus could be on the god/ servant relationship. It worked incredibly well. The art was perfectly suited to the story, which a nice gritty feel and a particularly impressive treatment of Moon Knight and his costume. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colours were perfect, muted in tone as you would expect, but still a splash of colour at night. Essentially an issue to give an origin recap and establish the current status quo, which is does perfectly. My one complaint? I miss the little moon shaped shuriken. Come on, we need them back!

Every moon has a dark side, so every moon god must have too. If one Fist is a servant of the light side, the other Fist must be a servant of the dark. It looks as though we are heading towards a, ahem, Fist fight.

As perfectly managed a reboot/ relaunch as could be wished for. Superb.

***** 5/5


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