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The Orange Won’t Peel | The all-new then

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You gotta love the white suit, and you gotta love that strut, cleanly maneuvered. It’s all confidence, and Marc Spector – a damaged, misguided soul – has it unlike ever before, and it reads with a snap, being so certainly a sharp click in the opposite direction. He’s a pro, here – one who has no qualms of who he is or what he should worry about, taking the crime scene and diagnosing the details. A man straightened out, back from the brink, knowing the necessity of focus as to not unravel, and the suit – the one which breaks through everything else on the page – burns all other elements from line of sight and cloaks this protag in something unshakable: His own craziness. Finally, pride.

Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey captured a realized Moon Knight in this comic’s first half, and that’s unlike the other reboots. Those (Charlie Huston, Bendis, whatever the fuck that Vengeance series was) relied much more upon the character’s personality schism, and while each kept it interesting enough (besides Vengeance), we’ve come to a point of recursion and reliance, leaving little room for the so-called superhero-ing. Which is what this is, after all – a comic book about a dude who solves problems. And while it’s classic Marvel fashion to assert some of said problems as personal, it’s also fun to see Moon Knight acting outside himself.

Shalvey executes this change. He draws this character, when dressed, with such taunt, angled posture that he appears ever-calibrated, prancing about the page.  There’s little hesitation to toss an index finger to make a point, and the eye slots drawn into the mask, empty and white, suggest a clarity from within. Sequencing rolls these shots quick and smooth. The pacing rejects bumps, missteps or baggage. Every panel reads like a fast, jaunty sentence, unconcerned if it does begin with ‘And.’

It all pairs so well with Ellis and his tightly mechanical telling. The opening reads like spillover from his Secret Avengers run in that it wishes to nix the decision making and go straight for the gun. A reverse of “decompression,” commercialized by titles like Hawkeye and Daredevil. Ellis and his influence. Still shifting the super hero pool when he plays so little in it.

Though, this precision further extorts the ‘crazy.’ Amplified, it’s not soaked through by any sort of dark contemplation, up front. It’s fast, barking, able to carry out as if everything were normal. As if Spector were just a detective named Mr. Knight. You can almost buy it, but as that suit suggests a sense of normalcy, away from the cape, it too is a bright, white suit worn by a man in a mask descending into the sewer to fight a serial slasher. A bouncy pace lets these sort of things occur because it gives little chance to stop and question what you’re seeing. You must purchase the confidence on display, even if it is the assurance of a madman.

But this shifts by the final page when Khonshu finally arrives, inserting the origin back into this superhero saga. It’s when the mask slips off you see the texture and complexion in Spector’s cheeks, and he’s not all smiles. Something’s still wrong, and maybe this time we’ll find out what. According to our authors, he’s just plain batshit this time. While I prefer the up front, limousine fiend we first meet, Shalvey and Ellis seem capable of examining the mind without being consumed by it. Maybe they’ll strike a wonderful balance. I hope so. Because I’m not yet tired of these fresh, taunt, issue-to-issue superhero comics, but I am of overblown head dramas. This comic book kept to a majority of the former, and that interests me.

8 Comments

Succinct and well said. Loved the issue.

I didn’t even hear about this run happening until a few days ago, and as both an Ellis fan and a “Moon Knight” fan, I know I have to read it. Your review only makes me more excited.

Yeah, it’s kind of amazing that Marvel didn’t play up the fact that WARREN ELLIS is writing Moon Knight.

My shop didn’t have copies on Wednesday, but the owner said he should be getting more in. This is one 3.99 Marvel book I may actually spring for in singles. Sounds like it’s more like Fell in a way, too. Which was awesome.

Best new book of the year so far, best thing Marvel has put out in months, and my second favorite single issue of the year behind Rover Red Charlie #4. I don’t care about Moon Knight AT ALL, but this series has me REALLY interested. Ellis hasn’t done work this high caliber since… maybe 2010 or 2011 or so. And to top it off the whole thing looks excellent as well. The potential opened up by the ending is IMMENSE and if Ellis can deliver on it then this has a solid chance of becoming the spiritual successor to Moench’s run in the same way that Bendis’ DD run was the spiritual successor to Miller’s.

@TJCoolguy —

I can’t even imagine what this issue must be like for people who are actually fans of the character. Right now the thing I’m most frequently hearing about the issue is people saying they “don’t even care about Moon Knight”, but how much they liked the issue anyway. I suspect Ellis is going to make a boatload of new MK fans.

@Travis Pelkie —

I’ve been seeing A LOT of comparisons to Fell. Like I can’t even see a thread/discussion about the issue online without people saying it’s “just like Fell”.

Yeah. The demand at our shop came frustratingly sudden. I’m the main clerk in charge of ordering for the store and as a dedicated Warren Ellis fiend (Not stalker, though. You can’t prove I was following him The Entire Weekend for the 2008 Chicago con? Oh, yeah? Well show my lawyer the tapes, then. S’what I thought.) and Avid Moon Knight fan (at least of the Moench/Sienkiewicz stuff. I’m iffy on the ’90s run, the Second half of that Huston/Hurwitz series and I drink to forget VOTMK and Fist of Khonshu) so since the solicit came out I let all our customers know in no uncertain terms that I was 100% recommending this book. I hand-printed a poster of the Previews solicit page, reminded people about “Apparat: Simon Specter”, “Nextwave” and “Not Dead Yet” and straight-up told people there would be ghost punching, and got nothing but “maybes” and “don’t order it for me”s.
Between 4:00 Wednesday and closing Thursday we got 18 people, most of them who said “don’t order it for me” complaining that the few I got for the shelf were sold out and I didn’t slip a #1 into their box.

I should be mad, but dammit, I’m riding the Khonshu cloud and nothin’s gonna bring me down! That comic might be in the top 10 Moon Knight issues ever, and I re-read the whole of the Moench/Sienkiewicz series last week so I know what I’m talking about.

PS. Can we get a new print of the 1st Essential Moon Knight, Marvel? Some of those pulpy ’70s stories look even better in B&W and I’m seein’ OOP collections go for up to $45 online. I would’ve loved to be able to flash one of those fat $17 classic tpbs in front of our newfound Moonie fan club looking for #1.

Wait, is Vengeance of Moon Knight that widely hated? I despised it after it became Moon Knight Team-Up, but I found the first six issues to be enjoyable enough, especially the fight with Bushman in issue #6.

Declan is doing the best work of his career, but that page you used would be nothing without colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire. The whole team is firing on all cylinders, and it shows!

@Carl —

Actually that page looked ultra-bitchin’ in the B&W previews Marvel put out pre-release.

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