Warren Ellis’ Moon Knight


Within six issues, Warren Ellis decided to bring Moon Knight back to something that reflected the original vision of Doug Moench. In particular, Ellis wanted to shift Moon Knight away from the awful multiple personality that had predominated much of Moon Knight’s character of recent years.
These six cerebral issues haunt the existence between the land of the dead and the living.
In issue four, Ellis commentary on death begins to take form and cast its macabre shadow beyond the comic book boarders and into our world. The surreal and psychedelic depictions in this issue question the setting of Moon Knight and whether or not any of the events taking place are actually happening.
Each antagonist Moon Knight faces is a twisted reflection of Mr. Knight. In the first issue, the first piece of new information Ellis gives is Moon Knight having an imaginary argument with Wolverine and Daredevil. Not only does this establish Moon Knight as an unreliable narrator, but also he believes he’s at odds with Marvel’s superhero community. This issue progresses to Moon Knight tracking down an ex Shield agent who had also been casted out of the organization. The antagonist tracks down and medically cannibalize his victims in hopes to make himself stronger and worthy of being an agent again. Who can better understand this morbid logic than the insane antihero who seeks redemption through his own insane acts?
Each issue begins with a piece of prose depicting the origin of Moon Knight. Marc Spector was a mercenary who did horrible things until one day he found himself left for dead at the feet of a Khonshu statue. Since the night Spector died, he has vowed to redeem his past transgressions. In issue two we are introduced to six seemingly unconnected people finishing up their business day. However, when each person falls victim to a sniper’s bullet, the story begins stitch itself into a single narrative. When Moon Knight begins the chase, the story collapses into a single narrative about a mercenary who took revenge on his former employers who left him for dead. Ellis bring this chapter to a poetic close. Although the distant projection of death is power, these weapons are never suppose to come back to punish their owners.
These parallels don’t become as blatant until issue three where Marc Spector fights specters haunting the streets of New York, or in issue six when Black Specter wants to become Moon Knights mirrored reflection. In order to defeat the specters, Mr Knight had to fully embrace the personification of death. In a brilliant and well paced fight, issue five is a Game of Death style plot showcasing Moon Knight defeating five floors of gangsters. By the issue’s conclusion, we see every action of Moon Knight’s has a cold and unstoppable finality.
In this series, we have drifted away from the multiple personality disorder. Instead Ellis had taken an eloquent and gothic approach to crafting a story about a man who was traumatized by his own actions. In order to cope and survive, he killed off Marc Spector and became Moon Knight or the personification of death itself. Like his ex lover said Marc Spector rather didn’t exist or never came back from the dead. Now, Because Mr Night still carries massive amounts of guilt and trauma, he views every villain as his own personal antagonist. Ellis’ has rooted Moon Knight once again and gave Brian Wood and other future writers plenty to work with.

Moon Knight #1 (2014) Review

moonknight1preview1jpg-dc37b5_960wWarren Ellis just began a new on going series over at Marvel, Moon Knight. This seems sort of an odd choice considering many of his works deal with Trans-humanism whereas Moon Knight is a Marvel take on Batman with one unique twist. Instead of the Rogues Gallery living in Arkham Asylum, they’re living inside Batman’s head and came out in the form of split personalities. When Ellis was asked why he chose Moon Knight, he said he knows people with Dissociative Identity Disorders, and its portrayal in the previous incarnations of Moon Knight was grossly inaccurate. Therefore, Warren Ellis aims to give Moon Knight and its readers a reality check which will inevitably give us a fresh take. This is also interesting to remember because we have to assume Moon Knight is an unreliable narrator, and this could and probably will lead to many different twists. The story begins shortly after an event where witnesses saw Moon Knight standing in the middle of the street having a loud argument with Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Captain America although none of these Avengers were anywhere to be seen, and it was because he was having an argument with them in his head. This sets the tone for Moon Knight’s unstable mind. For the rest of the issue, Moon Knight has many one sided conversations which roll into the next one. These are often full of self-analysis and psychological profiling. This helps establish Moon Knight as a man who sees the world and everyone in it as one large puzzle waiting for somebody like him to put all the pieces back together. Furthermore, Moon Knight’s detached state of mind will also push him into dangerous and violent situations which put his cunning and conditioning to the test.

Artistically, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire have chosen a chiaroscuro dominated style. Although there’s a lot of inky shadows and the details aren’t elaborate, Moon Knight and his white suit really pop-out from the darkness. This is really appropriate because it brings to mind the full moon against the night sky, and each page feels like it is glowing in your hands.

The worst part of this issue was its introduction. Usually, Ellis will use the first page of his comic runs as a mini essay which establishes the characters, world and era. Instead his heavy exposition and thick dialogues explaining Moon Knight’s backstory choked up most of the panels for the first few pages. The pacing wouldn’t have been bogged down if it rather A) used his usual introduction or B) allowed his artists to re-imagine Moon Knight’s backstory. It would have been fair to take option B that way the readers and the artists can show us the stylistic changes and direction this reboot was going to take. Regardless, by the time it reaches its conclusion they have found their footing and pacing, so the next issue is sure to fly more smoothly.