MOON KNIGHT #7
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 3, 2014
At first glance of Moon Knight #7, there doesn’t seem to be much of a change for the fans of the previous run, but upon further inspection there are some glaring issues with the transition from Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey to Brian Wood/Greg Smallwood. While the tone and intent are meant to be an extension over what has been built upon the immaculately well-conceived issues prior, there are distinguishable differences in this issue that aren’t necessarily able to uphold the strong momentum of the previous issues.
One of the things readers enjoyed about Ellis’ reboot of Moon Knight is that the character had this inherent predisposition of figuring out what needed to be done and doing it. He walked around with a bit of arrogance and deservedness as if he was chosen by God himself (in this case a moon god named Khonshu) to impart his will as he saw fit. There was mysticism, violence, and hard-edged witicisms assembled in the pages that were never wraught with extensive dialogue or banter and let the visuals of the artist speak for themselves. Motives were uncomplicated and left it fairly easy for readers to follow the action and the story regardless of the different premise in each issue.
Brian Wood’s version of Moon Knight is very different. Readers are spoon-fed techno-jargon in the beginning pages that feels like it’s been lifted from the latest Jason Bourne story or Tom Clancy novel as we follow a mercenary on the hunt for a controversial rebel leader, named General Aliman Lor, whom is scheduled to make an appearance in New York. The voice over captions speech and the soliloquy does immerse you in a state of espionage wonder and modern warfare fantasy, but by the time Moon Knight appears and the introductory credit panels begin, you are thrown right back into the simplistic comic book fight that you didn’t expect a title like this to so flaccidly present to you like a cold hors d’oeuvre.
The most glaring thing about this issue is Moon Knight’s complete acceptance of his edict of “protecting night travellers.” While fighting the mercenary, he realizes that General Aliman Lor is his target. General Aliman Lor has been described in the comic as a “controversial rebel leader”, to which the mercenary soldier adds “He would pay for his crimes. Crimes against his own people! Women and children! Refugees!” To which, Moon Knight even subtley agrees with by saying “General Lor may very well be what you say he is. But this is not what justice looks like.”
This General has committed crimes against women, children, and refugees –to which Moon Knight himself even agrees with, but then he callously takes down this gentlemen seeking retribution in the name of justice? So if someone has committed crimes towards women and children, they’re ok in Moonie’s book, as long as they’re in his city and travel at night? Moon Knight may have a personality disorder, but this seems uncharacteristic of him to perform, especially since this reboot.
Artist Greg Smallwood does a decent performance in this issue of trying to carry the torch left by Declan Shalvey. While the effort is most certainly there, there are glaring issues with action and perspectives in panels that could be confusing for readers. Some panels have been assembled like grids, and often it is very difficult to decipher what is going on in them on account of the subject matter being too small or the subsequent and following panels have completely changed their perspectives. This left me having to reread panels and pages to figure out what was going on, or if I had missed something. There is even a fifteen-panel page, where after viewing the first two rows, I was completely disoriented and confused. Much of those inconsistencies are present in the issue, even down to sound fx panels being incredibly difficult to read and even the sound fx themselves obscuring the action.
Moon Knight #7 marks the second season of the All-New Marvel NOW! series, and is noticably riding on the coat tails that was left by it’s former creative team. While it has noticably big shoes to fill, I would be hard-pressed to find anyone that could aptly step up to the challenge. With that being said, as a huge fan of the previous run, this has much more to go in order to genuinely capture that excitement I previously had for the series and much more to improve upon before one can say that this is a safe bet.
The Verdict: 6.5/10