There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we’re taking a look at the newest adventures of the defender of those who travel by night, “Moon Knight,” published by Marvel Comics and created by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio. After the imprisonment of his patron, Marc Spector still strives to keep the night safe, but there are plenty of people trying to get in his way. If you like monsters of the week, growing conspiracies, and unhinged action, then this is the comic for you! Join us as we tell you why you should be checking out the man reborn in the cold light of Khonshu.
Who is this by?
“Moon Knight” has a promising team of rising stars at Marvel Comics. Jed MacKay (“Black Cat,” “Taskmaster,” “Magic”) brings Marc Spector to life and does an excellent job of capturing Spector’s tone and worldview. Spector is a broken person who uses his powers to atone for the sins of the past. MacKay also has a talent for injecting some dark humor into his script, with solid banter between Spector and Reese, his new vampire receptionist for the Midnight Mission.
Newcomer Alessandro Cappuccio joins MacKay in bringing the travelers of the night and their protector to life in “Moon Knight.” While Cappuccio is new to the scene, he does a remarkable job of creating a dark and ominous world for Moon Knight to protect. The world and spaces of “those who travel by night” tend to look run down and dingy, areas that other heroes might overlook or downright ignore. It helps to highlight how Moon Knight is a different hero, protecting those who don’t have many others on their side. Similarly, Cappuccio does an excellent job of making Moon Knight feel ominous. While the series has action, there are plenty of moments where the brunt of the violence occurs off-screen, building the character’s intrigue and letting the imagination run wild. Joining Cappuccio on colors is Rachelle Rosenberg (“Daredevil,” “Dawn of X,” “Doctor Aphra”), who does an exceptional job of coloring the book to compliment the world that Spector defends. Because so much of the series takes place at night, shadows are created by different qualities of artificial light. In each case, it does an excellent job of establishing not only the tone of the scene but the world Spector protects.
What’s it all about?
After trying to take over the world in ‘The Age of Khonshu,’ Marc Spector’s patron was imprisoned, but the work is never over. “Moon Knight” follows Spector as he tries to protect those who travel at night without the guidance of Khonshu. In the god’s absence, Spector is trying not only to keep the streets safe but not be quite the level of judge, jury, and executioner Khonshu demanded. Spector is now operating in shades of gray, protecting the innocent regardless of their monstrous status. For Spector, the only thing that matters is keeping people safe.
Throughout “Moon Knight,” Spector continues to fight his inner demons and work through his past lives, all of them. Yet, as Spector works to keep his people safe, there are other forces at play, pressures that will make his life that much more difficult. From shadowy figures to true believers, Marc Spector has much more than fighting vampires, monsters, and things that go bump in the night.
What makes it so great?
There’s plenty to like about the new run of “Moon Knight,” but the reason it has already made an impact in just a few issues is that it seems to have learned many positive lessons of “Monster of the Week” style episodic television. While other runs of the character have completely stand-alone issues, issues that felt like genre experiments and explorations into the different facets of Spector’s life, MacKay takes a different approach to the episodic nature of Moon Knight. There is just enough connective tissue between each issue to help establish interesting secondary characters, build nuanced relationships, and create some intriguing mystery. While a handful of recent comics have tried to build out shadowy conspiracies or intricate mysteries, many of them have fallen flat because they don’t give readers a reason to return. This isn’t the case with “Moon Knight” because each issue is a small victory, building up the mystery of the shadowy figure spying on the Midnight Mission without making them the only threat to the hero. By slowly building the conspiracy, but introducing new threats for the hero to triumph over, means that there’s a reason to come back, especially if that threat could be coming from the hero’s mind.Continued below
Another thing that makes “Moon Knight” special is watching Spector come to terms with being a hero without the voice of Knonshu being a guiding, or derailing, force in his head. It seems that this is a good thing for Spector, making him less ruthless in his mission to keep others safe. This is interesting for two reasons, one because it allows him to build a relationship with Reese, a recently turned vampire trying to fight her dark urges. Reese represents a way for Spector to add shades of grey to his mission. He is no longer a judge of justice for an imprisoned god. He no longer has to abide by the god’s commands, which leads to the second interesting point. Moon Knight has to face a true believer.
While I’m not necessarily overly fond of the trope of “pallet swap villain,” there’s something about “Moon Knight” that makes it feel interesting. These characters represent different levels of belief and dogma, one who was raised in this world and trained in the religion, one who inherited it and saw its shortcomings. That is the foundation for some intriguing conflict.
One other reason this comic is worth a read is the impressive art from Alessandro Cappuccio and Rachelle Rosenberg. While the series isn’t necessarily as “trippy” as other runs, there are plenty of moments where Cappuccio gets to explore the twisted psyche of Spector. In the second issue of “Moon Knight,” we’re treated to the view of Spector’s mind, what he sees as the vigilante. Even without Knonshu at the reigns, you can see the continued impact of the god on Spector. Combine this with some effective “off-screen” violence, and you can tell that they are setting the pieces for some continued exploration into the mind of Spector.
Overall, the series is taking some unique approaches to blend previous “Moon Knight” runs by keeping a largely episodic comic but creating enough intrigue to keep you coming back.
How can you read it?
“Moon Knight” is published monthly by Marvel Comics, and the third issue of the series is published this week. You can pick up the newest issue at your local comic book store or on digital platforms like Comixology and Marvel Unlimited.