Review: MOON KNIGHT #3

Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 7, 2014

MOONKN2014003_DC11jpg_Page1Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire to continue to build something brilliant with Moon Knight #3, a dark tale that is brilliantly crafted and engrossing to read.

Moon Knight is one of those books that I argue is not created by a writer and an art team. This is a book where they entire creative team could just be lumped together as storytellers, because each piece of the creative puzzle tells so much story in Moon Knight #3. I’m going to start with a discussion of the artwork, because Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s work on this comic is superb. Shalvey’s pencils are detailed yet uniquely stylized, giving this book a look and feel like no other. Shalvey pencils settings that are extremely detailed, and, in most of this issue, his pencils are doing the talking for the story. Ellis does not populate this comic with any unnecessary dialogue at all, keeping the story lean and stripped down to basics. There is no excess verbage, nor a single box filled with exposition or internal monologue. Much of the story is told through the art, and Shalvey and Bellaire deliver the goods. This stripped down storytelling style makes the issue feel very raw (in a good way), and while it makes for a rather quick read, it’s so damn good you can’t help but flip back to the start and immediately begin reading it again. Shalvey and Bellaire give Moon Knight so much style that you can’t look away from the character on the page, he is visually gripping and wildly dangerous at all at once. Even three issues in I am still blown away by his new look, and it fits this story so very well. For a character that is so stark and white, it is amazing how much richness the colour work by Jordie Bellaire adds to this comic. Her work with the antagonists in this issue is jaw dropping, capturing nature of their physical state brilliantly. I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of many of the pages in this comic, and this artistic duo are truly gifted.

Warren Ellis is telling very stripped down, unorthodox stories with Moon Knight, and it is working. We aren’t seeing super foes, or villains from one issue to the next, yet they are building on each other nicely. His writing is very strong, and he is doing an excellent job of working with his art team to craft something unique in the industry (especially among big two titles). He is keeping readers on his toes by not delving into the mind of Marc Spector all that much, and letting the actions of the titular character speak louder than words or omnipotent examination of his thoughts. This gives the story a palpable level of edge, and shows that when Warren Ellis is on, he’s playing at a whole other level than many writers. This is a dark, violent, thriller set in the primary Marvel Universe but it has the same gritty feel as a MAX book. Ellis doesn’t need gratuitous profanity or violence to nail that tone, but rather works with the character and the situations brilliantly to deliver a gritty superhero tale that is bordering on a supernatural noir. I don’t know how to classify this book, which is probably obvious by now, because there is nothing else like it on the stands. This is Ellis at his finest, working with his collaborators to tell a tale in a new and exciting way, and it works.

Everything in Moon Knight #3 simply works. From the artwork to the dialogue to Chris Eliopoulos’ lettering, it all works. The only downside could be the speed at which you can read this issue, but that is an exceptionally minor complaint. When the story is crafted this well, you’ll need to read it multiple times anyway. Each time you’ll find new details to enjoy, and you can revel in a masterfully told story. Moon Knight has never been better, and this title is a must read.

The Verdict: 10/10


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