Moon Knight v.1: Lunatic
After a fair few positive reactions to Lemire’s Moon Knight here, I picked up the first trade in a recent Comixology sale. I’m glad I did: this is a good, solid superhero book that - like the best titles in these shared ongoing universes - builds on what has gone before by taking things in a new direction, but one that ties up nicely with the character’s previous history and uses it in a fresh way.
Lemire’s is-he-or-isn’t-he approach to Moon Knight’s insanity is hardly an original approach (for this character or in general), so he smartly doesn’t make it the entire focus of the book, preferring to let it underpin everything with a constant ambiguity, rather than making resolving that question the point of the story. This lets things play out with a likeable dreamlike quality that means that the mixture of urban New York vigilante drama and mystical Egyptian supernatural elements doesn’t feel jarring, but instead sweeps us along nicely.
Greg Smallwood’s art is beautiful too, adopting different styles when the material demands it - including some nods back to the character’s Bill Sienkiewicz days…
…as well as setting out his own stall with some very atmospheric early work that helps to establish the disturbing situation that Marc Spector finds himself in, via a Twelve Monkeys-esque outdated mental hospital…
…and an amazing splashpage halfway through the story that shows the scale of the problem that our hero is up against.
There are also some great guest-art spots later in the book that I won’t spoil, but which are brought into the story in a way that feels seamless, and completely justifies the switch in art styles.
I’ve never been the biggest Moon Knight fan, but I’ve dipped into him here and there over the years, and I like the fact that he’s a character that can support several different takes with alternate tones. This is quite a switch from the Warren Ellis-originated previous incarnation of the series (although there’s still an element of that here), and it’s also quite different from other prominent recent takes on the character, like the Bendis & Maleev run or the Huston/Finch book from a while back now.
I really appreciate that, as Lemire has struck on a new flavour that feels true to the character while also offering something a little different to what we’ve seen before.