In the city, 8 unconnected individuals are sniped for mysterious reasons. As each falls, readers learn a bit more of why they're targeted and how they all fit together. Amidst the chaos comes Marc Spector and all 18 people in his brain to stop the sniper.
"Moon Knight" #2 by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey shows what life is like when Spector accesses the superhero room in his overcrowded skull. Warren Ellis conducts a wonderful piece of "only in comics" storytelling, weaving each character in individual panels across several pages. As each dies, their panel is replaced on the subsequent pages with white space and narration describing the overall series of events. Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire stage the sequence beautifully. An eight page grid is difficult and restricting, and Shalvey continues to find interesting and inspired shot choices.
Once Moon Knight drops in the storytelling really opens up. Shalvey's page layouts are absolutely incredible. He's maximizing the use of negative white space in this book -- look at how Moon Knight's cape frames the action within panels, casually guiding the eye towards the active focus of each scene. The fight itself is mostly silent and all brutal, and does not end happily. Ellis is establishing a world where hard decisions lead to tough consequences.
I did mention the cape -- super hero Moon Knight shows up this time and as the personality is slightly different, the art is a bit different as well. Bellaire still keeps the whites as starched as a laundromat but we get some slight body detail within the blacks of Spector's party suit. Were I a betting man I'd guess that readers will get a slightly different art feel for each of the personalities when they show up. Ellis keeps out of Spector's head in this installment, which creates an even greater sense of unpredictability for the protagonist. This is a book about an ensemble of one, and as we meet each of the different brain rats that inhabit Spector's body, I'm excited to see how the storytelling will shift to accommodate the updated lead.
"Moon Knight" is quickly becoming required reading even as the series just starts to set the stage. Watching Ellis, Shalvey and Bellaire work together is more akin to watching a group conduct an orchestra than a team of writer and artists. Moon Knight is a very high concept that has been attempted by many and failed by just as many. It's a different take from anything the character has been before and so far it looks like once everyone is introduced, this series is going to be like going to the symphony of destruction.