Literally and figuratively, Moon Knight has had trouble with figuring out who and what he should be. A hero cursed with multiple personality disorder, his appearance and motivation on the printed page has varied from creator to creator almost as much as the occupations those personalities chose.
Frequently dismissed by comic readers as a Batman knockoff, many creators haven’t done much to dispel that thought. Brian Michael Bendis makes it quite clear in this first issue that this is not Batman. Some of the moves and the set-up certainly seems Batman-esque, but Spector doesn’t hesitate to continue his fight, cowled or not. The focus in the fight is less on moon-themed gadgetry than the determination and heart Moon Knight brings to his battle with a much larger and more powerful foe, Mr. Hyde.
Moon Knight breaks up a deal between Hyde and another more mysterious foe. That foe claims his goods from Hyde and unleashes a mystery that will power this series forward, and that puts Moon Knight in a spot to prove his own in a crusade against crime in Los Angeles as assigned to Moon Knight by Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, as seen in the preview here on CBR.
The art on this book is by Bendis’ frequent collaborator, Alex Maleev. Noted for his photo-influenced art on “Daredevil,” Maleev’s work here is less finished, more sketchy, and much more loose. It’s not standard-issue Alex Maleev art, and I’m not certain which side of the fence I’m on. There are great moments, like a killer double-page spread where we first see Moon Knight in costume. It feels like nothing else I’ve seen in comics lately and comes across as a full-fledged homage to Sienkiewicz. It’s going to take Maleev a little while on this book to grow on me.
As wonderful as that spread of Moon Knight hitting the rooftops is, there is one page with four panels detailing the destruction of Hyde’s boat at the hands of the mystery villain that leaves a little to be desired. Maleev’s art and Wilson’s colors struggle to cooperate, with the end result being an unclear depiction of what is truly happening. Thankfully the story afterwards helps to clue the reader in.
This is a different take on Moon Knight, stretching the Marvel Universe over to the left coast and giving both Moon Knight and Marc Spector new purpose. It’s not a spectacular book by any means, but it is a very good one. I’ll definitely be checking back in with this title. Bendis leaves a nice little bit at the end of this first issue that calls a great deal of the issue into question. It’s not a surprise by any means, but it is a pleasant affirmation that things in this book may not be completely predictable.