“Moon Knight” has been hanging around the fringes of the Marvel Universe for a while now. Although the series hasn’t drawn any significant acclaim, it has nonetheless dodged cancellation, so it’s good to see Marvel reward that success with a marketing push in the form of a relaunch.
Since the series so far hasn’t set critics or charts alight, the relaunch isn’t without a little retooling -- presumably to try and see if there’s a little more appeal in the character. A new creative team accompanies a new take on the character, which sees Moon Knight returning to New York, planning to set himself back on the path of straight and narrow superheroics following his recent stint as a complete psychopath.
He’s still a little deranged, but then, that’s the character. There’s a little nagging voice telling him to go further, but he resists it. As a result, there’s nothing like the violence that the previous incarnation was prone to. A guest appearance by the Sentry at the close of the issue would feel a little gratuitous, given how much the character gets around these days, but it does make sense in the context of superheroes with psychological identity issues, so it’s easy to forgive.
Incoming artist Jerome Opena’s sketchy lines work well for a character who has to look imposing and gritty while dressed in white -- the opening sequence in particular gives him a chance to show off some particularly fluid storytelling as Moon Knight plows his way through the city landscape in pursuit of villains, though the more subdued scenes work well too.
Alongside the first issue is a reprint of the original “Moon Knight” #1 -- hardly a lost classic, it can be considered a mid-70s curio at best, and is mostly interesting for a chance to see some early Bill Sienkiewicz pencils. It’s hard to complain about free extras, but there’s a definite sense that this was thrown in as an afterthought to justify an increased cover price for the first issue (mercifully, it’s back to $2.99 as of next issue).
To be honest, after reading this I’m still not convinced there’s any need for a Moon Knight title. Given the utter lack of interest there’s been in the character over the last 30 issues of this series’ predecessor, I’ll be surprised if a relaunch makes any difference in the long term. If anything, repositioning Moon Knight as a more generic superhero seems to do away with the one thing that made him stand out. It’s not a badly executed read, but it can’t get over the question of why it exists in the first place.