Coming off an impromptu Mexican vacation thanks to Osborn’s pre-H.A.M.M.E.R. Thunderbolts, Moon Knight is back in New York to hit the big time, and by big time, I mean Norman Osborn in the face. Before working his way to the top, Moon Knight warms up on Obama and McCain-masked bank robbers and dark alley rapists.
This is the first issue of yet another ongoing Moon Knight series. Why? The last issue of the previous volume ended with Moon Knight in his Jake Lockley personality deciding to leave Mexico to return to New York and confront Osborn and the forces that led to his exile. This issue starts with just that. Little time has passed between issue, both in comic time and real time (the last issue came out only a few months ago). There’s been enough time for him to set up operations in New York and get reacquainted with a couple of compatriots in his fight against crime
Moon Knight is not a stranger to changing volumes, as this new one is his fifth in all of Moon Knight’s various titles. Changing volumes isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it’s not some marketing push. Volume changes work well when there’s a thematic change in the story of the character. Moon Knight’s last series focuses on his life during the growing tensions of the super hero civil war and the Stark-era S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as dealing with his fractured psyche and the constant voice of Khonshu, Egyptian god of vengeance. This volume definitely takes place during the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn (despite lacking appropriate moniker), but it’s still too early to tell what direction this volume is going to take Moony.
What we can tell from this issue is that Moon Knight is starting off with an affirmation of not killing. It also seems that Moon Knight is sticking with his street-smart cabbie Jake Lockley persona, evident only by his driving a taxi and his butler referring to him as “Mr. Lockley.”
The book is intriguing, letting on just enough of what Moon Knight is doing back in town to make following the title more of a pleasure than a chore. Just wondering what’s up with his mental state is enough to make the next issue worth reading. Speaking of cracked minds though, the encounter on the last page should lead to an interesting meeting of minds next issue…a meeting of several minds.
The art is very detail oriented. Texture detail is well done here. The seams in Moon Knight’s outfit pop out, and the worn lines are visible. The suit looks like the well-armored skin-tight suit that it, just as the looser fit clothing others wear look as such with proper sag and creases. Walls and floors have marks on them, the wear and tear they take and the natural imperfections they would show. Bricks seem rough and rounded with age. Birds look feathery. Facial hair and wrinkles show where they should. Time was taken to make the art look more than simply outlining characters and settings.
Backgrounds are also impressive. Little things from graffiti, text on signs, ads for plays like “Wicked” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” A Broadway street sign appears on the page just before Moon Knight wanting to “be on Broadway.” Time Square is particularly striking. It’s littered with Osborn propaganda ads.
It’s not just the detail of the backgrounds, but also the consistency. Things that show up twice stay the same. An Avengers billboard on one page shows up later at a shot of the same place with a different vantage, and it’s the same billboard, line up and text and all. This isn’t some copy-and-paste look. The artist Opeña actually drew that billboard twice, making sure everything happening in the same place happens in the same place. The art definitely knows where it is and where it’s going.
The Obama and McCain masks for the robbers are a nice and humorous touch. They’re almost instantly recognizable, which is good because otherwise, the stereotypical presidential mask joke would be lost.
Colors aren’t too bright or too dark. Moon Knight, typically being a darker hero with his mental problems and bloody past and present doesn’t typically fit with bright, popping colors. Yet the issue isn’t usually so dark that you can’t see what’s on the page.
The “usually” part comes in with the shading. Not a lot of subtle transition to a darker and darker shade, just straight to black. This is particularly bad when hiding characters’ eyes and other facial features in shadow. The police in one particular scene are the worst victims of this. Good portions of their faces are completely blackened by the shadows of their caps. Hiding their faces somewhat lessens them even as background characters, even when they actually have talking parts compared to others that get their faces and don’t say a word. The cops aren’t alone though as even Marc Spectre/Jake Lockley/whoever Moon Knight is sans costume doesn’t get to show the whites of his eyes.
This new volume has a good looking start. Moon Knight might be in for a new change in his life. We’ll have to wait though to see if it’s worth a new title and numbering. If you want to know where it came from though and understand who all the characters in the book are, the first issue of the original Moon Knight issue from volume one is included (depressingly complete with the price label of the $0.50 comic deep inside this $4 book).
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10