Moon Knight #5 (Marvel)


Rating: 4/5 – Focusing on Simply Solid Storytelling.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Each issue of this newest series of Moon Knight has been a stand alone tale. There’s no overarching story, no mastermind villain that’s hidden behind the scenes, and there hasn’t been a “to be continued” in any of the first five issues. That’s just one of the factors that go into making this series so special, and something that is setting this apart from all the other Marvel titles on the shelf. Add in fantastic yet brutal art by Declan Shalvey, and Moon Knight becomes a book that’s a must read.

Moon Knight in recent years has had a convoluted and complicated history. He’s gone from a simple mercenary, to one that has acted as an avatar for an Egyptian god, to a hero suffering a severe case of schizophrenia, with several other stops along the way. Writer Warren Ellis ignores all that and just focuses on him as a hero. In this particular issue, Ellis writes a simple story titled Scarlet that sees Moon Knight attempting a rescue of a young girl who is being held captive on the fourth floor of an abandoned building. That’s it. That’s the premise.  This book shines in its simplicity. Ellis is writing a Moon Knight as a driven yet borderline crazy personality with the superhero parts of the character at a minimum. It’s a take on the character that’s refreshing, but still somewhat close to the original interpretation. There’s very little dialogue in this issue as most of the story relies heavily on the artwork and storytelling taking place within the panels by artist Declan Shalvey.

Shalvey’s art really tells the story in this issue. Almost half of the book has only one word ballon per page, which means the story has to be told by the art, and Shalvey absolutely succeeds. It’s a violent journey up the four floors as he makes each violent interaction as brutal and jarring as the last. Not only that, but considering that the whole issue takes place in an abandoned building, you’d think it was an opportunity to slack on the details, but Shalvey doesn’t. The backgrounds don’t feel cheap, nor lazy and the colors of Moon Knight’s all white costume by Jordie Bellaire makes him stand out amongst the dark colors of the setting and surroundings.

This run by Ellis and Shalvey is one you should experience, and the standalone nature of the stories makes the single issues the perfect place to sample it.  Start with this issue.  And the next.  Unfortunately this creative team will only be around for one more issue as number seven will see Brian Wood taking over the writing duties with Greg Smallwood on the art, both great creators who will hopefully carry on in a solid, but ultimately different, way.  Do yourself a favor and check out this interpretation of the character, I think it’s one of the best we’ve seen to date.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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