13th May2022

‘Moon Knight: Black, White and Blood #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jonathan Hickman, Murewa Ayodele, Marc Guggenheim | Art by Chris Bachalo, Dotun Akande, Jorge Fornes | Published by Marvel Comics

Someone’s clearly flavour of the month right now. Moon Knight was always one of those second-tier characters with a small but loyal fan base. He’s proved a remarkably easy to use blank canvas of a character, going from Marvel’s Batman (still love those half-moon shurikens he throws) to the earthly servant of an Egyptian god. He’s been lucid, split personality, psychotic. A mercenary, a cab driver, a playboy. See what I mean? Writers love this guy, as he can fit whatever you want to do with him. This latest issue in the black, white and red series is a natural fit for him, allowing three separate creative teams their chance to give their own take on him, three good ones at that. Throw in a Bill Sienkiewicz cover too while you’re at it too.

Let’s take a look.

First up is ‘Anubis Rex’, by Jonathan Hickman and Chris Bachalo. Hickman seems content to take the back seat with this one, allowing Bachalo to do what he does best. Lots of panels, in a very busy, at times haphazard series of page layouts. More than a whiff of Frank Miller about it, especially with the monochrome art and clever use of red throughout. Although it’s not quite Sin City, this is a Moon Knight with a role to play in the future, although you may not quite work out what’s going on. It’s violent and bloody, with an ongoing gag about a pet dog. That’s Hickman for you I guess. Oh, and something about the servants of Ra and capturing scarabs. Still, looks cool.

‘So White, Yet So Dark’ is a complete change of pace, returning us to the present. Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande get to play in the sandbox with this one. Although Moon Knight and Spider-Man aren’t the most natural of bedfellows when it comes to the circles they move in, Spidey does have the right colour costume for this book, so he’s in. Turns out Spidey has a favour to ask of a reluctant Moon Knight, who takes Spidey’s help with his problem in return for helping with that one. Moon Knight is tracking a crimson scarab he needs to get his hands on, so ‘Egyptian stuff’ as Spidey wryly points out (it’s always Egyptian stuff these days, right). The task at hand itself is merely the pretext of course for the odd couple pairing, the bickering and interplay between the two. It’s all done brilliantly well, feeling like an episode of the Spider-Man animated show, and the final cameo is very funny. The art is great throughout, perfectly in tune with the light tone of the script.

‘The End’ by Marc Guggenheim and Jorge Fornes has a David Mazzuchelli vibe about it, art-wise, which is a good thing. Moon Knight has to run the gauntlet of assassins sent to kill a witness before she gets to court to testify against the mob. Not a new premise of course, but Guggenheim keeps it fresh and involving by telling it all backwards, something I didn’t realise until near the end. That’s good writing right there. We start with Moon Knight bleeding out in the snow, which is actually the ending. Throw in some low-level costumed criminals like Bulldozer and Redblade, this is solid entertainment all the way through. The gritty art by Fornes is a perfect complement to the story.

Three very different takes on Moon Knight. Future freedom fighter, traditional superhero, street-level defender of the needy. All work, proving as I said just how adaptable a character Moonie is (a terrible nickname I know). All are good reads, though I would probably rate them in reverse order, the final story the best and so on. No filler to be found here.

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale Moon Knight? Moon Knight: Black, White and Blood gives you three chances to do just that.

**** 4/5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.