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Review: Moon Knight #4

20140607-084313-31393102.jpgFour issues in and Moon Knight has consistently been one of Marvel‘s best monthly reads. Unfortunately, writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey are leaving after August’s sixth issue, to be replaced by the equally capable Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood. The new team stated they will maintain the minimalism and ensure a smooth transition. After reading this latest issue, it’s going to be a tall order.

Egyptian god reincarnate Marc Spector is approached by a sleep research doctor whose patients are not only all having the same dream—but going insane in the process. That’s the first half of the book. The second half is a psychedelic dream sequence Spector experiences while executing his detective powers.

As the timeless adage goes, it’s quality over quantity, and Ellis’ minimalist script in the second half delivers on all accounts. He understands how to tell stories with images, not just words (isn’t that the definition of a comic book?). Some might be taken aback by his abrupt endings, I think they are a welcomed change to the Scooby Doo if-it-weren’t-for-you-meddling-kids endings that readers have become accustomed to.

If the series’ resounding theme is minimalist dialogue, then Shalvey clearly has his work cut out for him…which he handles with aplomb. It started a little rocky with some shading issues on the sleep doctor’s face and an out-of-place nefarious smile in one of the panels which, minor SPOILER ALERT, makes sense at the end but still looked awkward. These details were quickly forgotten with the gorgeous, trippy latter half of the book. The imaginings of a dream state are visually limitless, especially with a fungal theme (you’ll see what I mean).

Six issues is too brief, but I have confidence in the reinforcement team. If you can’t wait for what will be an amazing trade, I’d pick this and past issues up and see just how far down the rabbit hole they take our lunar detective.

Story: Warren Ellis Art: Declan Shalvey
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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