Some weeks ago I was talking about what superheroes are and if their powers are what made them super. Look up my The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl review to jog your memory. Well, this week I get something just as good, but likewise confusing/different in Moon Knight #1. Here I am sitting reading about either an Egyptian-mythology-based hero, or a mentally ill man who believes he is such a thing?
I know that Moon Knight is an already a well-known, street-level character in the Marvel Universe. (Or would it be better if I say multiverse?) but it looks like his story is going to start from scratch in this new series created by writer Jeff Lemire (Justice League Dark, Constantine, All New Hawkeye) and his artistic team, which does a fantastic job on this issue.
The plot is straightforward for a superhero, but one that places a twist to things that makes you question what really is going on. Marc Spector swears he’s Moon Knight, a hero with a connection with Egyptian God of the Moon, Khonshu. Marc even hears this god speaking to him in his own mind!
There’s something very catchy about that premise that makes you want to read more to find out about Moon Knight and his apparent talking god. But what’s the problem in here? Well, it looks like Marc Spector’s actually gone insane and that illness has led him to believe Khonshu is real. Spector’s in a mental institution where nurses are not the traditional styling that we are used to seeing in comics, instead being abusive men that have taken advantage of their position over Spector due to his condition.
What is real? What is fake? Spector doesn’t even have a clue and neither do we which makes this a really interesting tale. As soon as Marc puts his Moon Knight mask on, it looks as if the world we know is under Seth’s, the god of the desert, storms, and disorders control. There is clearly some sort of illness here, but what it is and how much of what he is seeing is actually real keeps Moon Knight #1 really engaging.
As for the art, I really liked the Sandman-like look they gave to certain scenes. Those in dreams, thoughts, and everything that was going on in Spector’s mind were great. Being that there weren’t many of them in the book, the art really made them look special.
The real world is a much simpler style that’s more basic and not as wildly artistic. It’s still attractive and very clean and, for me, it makes me feel calmer while reading. It’s a good balance between what Marc sees and what the world really is, at least at this point in the book.
I really like the way the pages are laid out with that white background and some small panels; it’s kind of funny to see an adult story in such a minimalistic format, and it adds a certain lightness to what would have been an otherwise very heavy story. This entire approach really works well for the book.
The story is interesting and entertaining for sure, and very risky; playing with what the readers see and read requires good explanation that just hasn’t happened yet. Readers are really going to have to let their guard down with this one and I hope that this story really connects with people and they stick with the book. We will need to keep an eye on this series and see what happens next, as this inaugural arc, Welcome to New Egypt, consists of five parts.
In summation: Moon Knight #1 has a great art style, great cover, promising plot, and a real sense of originality. This new Moon Knight really deserves a chance, so pick it up as you won’t be disappointed!