With a high-profile television show on the horizon, Marvel has started its push for Moon Knight. After his recent storyline in The Avengers comic, Marc Spector headlines a new volume of his series with Moon Knight #1. And, the result is a bit mixed in its result. The concept of the comic is solid but it seems to be a rather surface representation of the character, one who has had a mixed history when it comes to his writers.
Written by Jed MacKay, Moon Knight #1 casts Spector as a protector of the night. He now runs the Midnight Mission where he defends those who “travel at night”. This puts him in conflict with the “monster” aspects of the Marvel Universe like vampires, rat men, the things that go bump in the night. When he’s not doing that, he’s seeing his appointed shrink to help him work through his issues. Spector is the “Fist of Konshu”, the priest of the god of the moon who is tasked with fighting evil. He also has Dissociative Identity Disorder, so there’s a whole question as to what’s real at times and what’s due to that.
At that surface level, the comic is great. There’s fantastic pacing and action. Spector is an engaging lead and the supporting cast and upcoming conflict are intriguing. The comic works really well as Marvel’s version of Batman… who really does have some issues to work through.
But, the comic fails the character as well.
Moon Knight is one of the high-profile Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe. The son of a Rabbi, Spector had a troubled relationship with his upbringing becoming a mercenary. His Judaism has been a varying part of the character depending on the writer with those who are of that faith delivering a bit more insight into the varying conflicts within those of the newer generation. MacKay’s take feels like it’s setting the groundwork to not just reject Spector’s Jewish upbringing but borders on the erasure of it.
In one panel, Spector discusses his being a “High Priest” of Konshu to which he is challenged by his psychiatrist who notes it’s a contradiction from his Jewish upbringing. Moon Knight states “My father was a Rabbi, I was a war criminal. Contradictions are nothing new for me.” The rest of the comic spends its time emphasizing the “High Priest” aspect without again mentioning Spector is Jewish. And there points to a failure in the character and those handling them.
Konshu is an Egyptian god who has “enslaved” a Jewish individual to do his bidding. The Biblical connotations are clear and the writing could easily play with the Jewish enslavement by Egyptian Pharaohs and their eventual exodus from bondage. But, MacKay doesn’t. He gives us a Spector who is ok with his role. We should be getting Moses but instead, we get acquiescence. We should get the real conflict that many Jews face every day, but instead, we get complete assimilation into his role. There’s an aspect, and one that would elevate the series and character, that’s missing. We get the action but not the depth.
Alessandro Cappuccio‘s art is beautiful. With Rachelle Rosenberg‘s colors and Cory Petit‘s lettering, the comic is visually fantastic. There’s such a dichotomy in the art switching between scenes of banter between Spector and his supporting cast and all-out action. The comic is absolutely fantastic looking keeping up a run of artists who have not just done the character justice but nailed the look and tone of the character and series.
Moon Knight #1 isn’t bad. It’s full of action and great banter. But, it’s missing a key element so many of the character’s writers have missed. There’s a perspective and conflict within Spector that seems to be skipped over again and again. Still, it’s an entertaining comic if you’re looking for Marvel’s Batman taking on things that bump in the night.
Story: Jed MacKay Art: Alessandro Cappuccio
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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