I hope Warren Ellis got paid by the page and not by the word. Because he sure let Declan Shalvey do the heavy lifting in the first six issues of this relaunch. That isn’t to say that the stories are weak. In each and every case, there is a fun or exciting core concept that launches the issue. But the dialogue is continually sparse and there is little to no narration. This book is all about setting up an odd conflict, then seeing Shalvey put Moon Knight through his paces.
There isn’t really much of a reference that this is a Marvel comic, either. Black Spectre gets mentioned in one of the issues. A mutated SHIELD agent is an antagonist in another. And I think there are some references to the Avengers, but for the most part, this could be any character in any universe. That isn’t a bad thing. It just shows how easily Moon Knight could stand on his own. Frankly, reading these issues made me think that Marvel might want to get Moon Knight on the big screen. They might be able to do Batman better than Warner Bros!
Shalvey does great things in every issue. He experiments with page layouts, with backgrounds, and panels to create unique, exciting art on every page. His redesign of Moon Knight as a suit-wearing, limo riding professional is fantastic. He also makes sure to use occasional bits of history too, like the odd, bird-skull incarnation of Konshu that haunts Marc Spector throughout the series.
Six issues in, and Moon Knight is indeed primed to be set free. Ellis created a formula for success with his done-in-one approach. I don’t think Brian Wood will be able to match Ellis’ flair for odd and interesting ideas, but it will be interesting to see.
I’ll be dropping the book, as the creative team is what made this first run so GOOD. But I’ll keep up with the new creative team on Marvel Unlimited.