by Warren Ellis (Writer), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Color art).
The story: The Fist of Khonshu gets into a street fight with punk ghosts.
The Review: Nobody writes done in one issues like Warren Ellis, I actually prefer his work like Planetary and Secret Avengers than I do his more structured arcs like his work on Iron Man or Astonishing X-men. The stories he weaves are not always the most complex but they’re always peppered with enough weirdness and atmosphere to compensate, Moon Knight is shaping up to be a particularly effective vehicle for this particular style of storytelling.
In this issue Moon Knight investigates a series of attacks that it is revealed were perpetrated by a spectral gang of punks, he gets his ass kicked, returns to base for a costume change that has to be seen to be believed and then heads back out for a rematch. That is the entire plot of this comic so it’s not surprising that it reads more like a tone poem than a complicated piece of narrative fiction. The violence is fast and brutal, the presence of Khonshu is unsettling and the climax of the issue is sombre, lacking the sense of victory that a reader would expect.
The partnership of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire on this book is phenomenal, the pages are drenched in atmosphere and the design of Spector’s bird skull costume along with the extremely creepy look of Khonshu are fantastic. I had a brief but fascinating conversation with Shalvey on twitter a few days ago about the extra work that he has to put into the series as he is using an ink wash technique similar to Matteo Scalera on Black Science, the extra depth and sense of atmosphere that this creates is well worth the extra effort it takes on his part. Ably assisted by Jordie on colors who adds so much to the look of the work using a muted but dynamic colour pallette that is reminiscent of Francesco Francavilla’s restrained coloring style.
It’s been a long time since readers have been treated to such a stellar done in one super-hero series, I’ve always been a big fan of the style as you could easily hand an issue to a non-comic reading friend and they would be able to read this issue without much confusion. I hope that this series manages to retain its writer and art team for a long time to come as I feel that this series could end up being something very special akin to Marvel’s critical darlings Hawkeye and Daredevil, especially if the book remains as accessible and interesting as it has been in these first three issues. As much as I enjoyed Bendis and Maleev’s take on the character as of this issue this version of the Fist of Khonshu has officially become the definitive interpretation for this reader.
Stray Thoughts: Supposedly when Shalvey submitted the first design of the bird costume Ellis sent him a message back stating “More crazy bird skull. MORE!” I love how inventive this book is with Moon Knight’s look and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.