By Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire
There has been some mixed success with the character of Moon Knight over the years and in many, creators have attempted varying manifestations in an attempt to set out on a different path to spark greater interest. As such, he comes with a messy history but Warren Ellis is not shy about this, and intends to make space for a majority of it. The first two issues touch a bit on his complicated past and also function as very different types of stories. What remained constant, though, was the fantastic art from Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. With issue three, readers are presented another stand-alone adventure of Moon Knight, or Mr. Knight.
What does a crime-fighter do when the criminals are ghosts that he cannot touch? That’s the problem plaguing Moon Knight in issue three. The book opens with a few quiet panels before green, punk-rock-looking ghosts attack some civilians. The placement of the story at night and during the winter allows for a lot of blacks and whites, simplifying the colors used and creating an even greater contrast. To offset, Bellaire colors the ghouls a glowing green color that is reminiscent of Ghostbusters’ Slimer. Knight finds his way back home after a failed attempt to battle the ghosts and readers are presented with a very startling scene as Moon Knight’s brainstorms a solution with Khonshu the moon-god, manifested as a man with a bird skull head.
The scene is striking in its imagery and it also finds a way to push the story forward, using Moon Knight’s history effectively, while still showcasing the true absurdity of the character. It is a fascinating scene in its ability to handle such a task so well. When read casually, the scenario can be passed over as if the character were looking to a mentor for guidance on how to overcome an obstacle, and readers can progress through the issue without hesitation. But for some, or upon repeated reading, further attention on this sequence does magnify the possible instability of the central character. Ellis’ script carries the conversation in such an innocuous way that it is able to be simultaneously nondescript and extraordinarily jarring. Shalvey complements this through the physicality of the characters, having both Moon Knight and the other figure seated casually as they converse.
The remainder of the issue involves a lot of fantastic choreography and sequencing as Moon Knight takes another attempt at thwarting the ghosts. Having been pointed in the direction of his Egyptian collection, he returns to the city in a horrific garb, and the tools necessary to even the playing field. The combat is rendered amazingly well and the fight is impressively kinetic. With each blow that Moon Knight lands, he disfigures the ghosts. Shalvey manages to depict this in a way that is graphic without being grotesque. Bellaire’s coloring of the characters and the detailing play the violence as more comedic than gory. Additionally, the story has a significant number of quiet panels throughout. This use of visuals, sequencing, and restraining from the use of much text on the page generates a great sense of cinematic production to Moon Knight.
The issue flows, as a result, from panel to panel as this creative team impresses yet again. It may still be unclear what story they are crafting in the universe, but after three issues the quality of what is on the page is more than enough justification for people to be following along.