I'm not sure what can be said of their run that hasn't been said already -- but if I'm the first person you're hearing about this series from, we can start here: All of the issues are standalone stories, except for maybe the 6th and final issue which compiles tidbits from a few of the prior issues. It has some kickass moments that establish for the new reader, just who Moon Knight is. He's an insane dude that's adopted the four aspects of Khonshu, Egyption God of the Moon: Defender, Embracer, Pathfinder, and Watcher of Travellers of the Night. To go with the four aspects, he's got a few personalities as well -- but immediately they debunk the previous "Dissociate Identity Disorder" explanation. Rather...this time he's got brain damage; and he was raised from the dead by an outerterrestrial consciousness beyond space-time. Gnarly.
"The one you see coming."
Moon Knight Vol. 1: From the Dead
by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey
Watch your favorite schizophrenic superhero take on those who would harm overnight travellers, including but not limited to: a boardroom assassin, punk rock ghosts, and psychoactive mushroom nightmares. Double gnarly.
What follows is a cascade of style and panache in comic book form. Ellis's Moon Knight oozes confidence and insanity. The scripts give Shalvey's pencils room to breathe and it's so fresh. It's the perfect synergy in the first 8 pages of issue 2, where a sniper takes out 8 targets from a late-night work meeting. Each member has their own panel in a 2x4 layout, and every time the sniper kills a person, their panel goes white. By the 8th page, it's only a single panel left showing the final kill. It's a brilliant use of the comic book layout, toying with our sense of time and demanding rereads with a focus on a single space of the page.
Another favorite of mine is the fifth issue, basically every freakin' page. It's the Moon Knight version of drug-fortress movies like Dredd or The Raid: Redemption. Moon Knight's got 6 floors to get through to save the kidnapped daughter of a crime family: Six floors of carnage. Great action story with great lines.
Or the third issue, where he dons ancient Egyption bone armor in order to deal with punk rock ghosts terrorizing the neighborhood at night. It has the strangest ending that I would love to hear people's thoughts on. Moon Knight traces the ghosts down to an abandoned apartment room in the city. "Johnny" has a note on a music box that says, "Be good Johnny. Love, mom." with a gun in his skeleton hands and the skeletons of his crewmates beside him. What happened there? Did Johnny commit suicide and kill his friends? What did he do in his past life that demanded that violence? It's ridiculously open-ended, with Moon Knight dropping the box in the river. Supposedly it's the end of that story.
Issue 6 pieces together parts from the last 5, and attempts to introduce a new nemesis for Moon Knight. In my opinion, it comes off a little hasty and contrived (and ends as hastily as it started), but the sheer style of the series as a whole kept me from minding it that much.
Overall, if you haven't read From the Dead, it's definitely worth it however you read it, whether it's in single issue format, trade paperback, or online. Myself, I borrowed the digital version from hoopladigital.com, which I've recently discovered has partnered with my local library. You enter your library information and voila, you have access to borrow digital items. Their library is insane, and I intend on maxing out my borrow limit every month.
Spoiler warning if you plan on reading this
The second volume of the 2014 series collects issues 7-12. It's kind of an international affairs spy thriller that includes Moon Knight. Looking back at the 6 issues as a whole, it's kind of brilliant how tightly plotted it was. There really are two acts in the storyline. First act is a trio of individual stories that contribute to the main story of the second act. Issue 7 has Moon Knight protecting the newly minted leader of a country in Africa, from a high-tech assassin. Issue 8 involves Moon Knight preventing a presumed terrorist attack at One World Trade Center. There, because of the heightened threat around terrorism, Moon Knight unleashes the "Mr. Grant" persona, a ruthless vigilante who brutalizes the would-be terrorist. There's also some commentary on the digital age, as his whole assault is captured and streamed on mobile phone. That episode starts a manhunt for Moon Knight, and leads him to consult with his doctor in the 9th issue, who claims the Khonshu persona for her own purposes.
Which first of all, is a great twist that I didn't see coming. It's here that they explain the fifth and "bonus" persona of Khonshu, "the one that lives on hearts." It's like Khonshu needs a host to take form, and that person needs to be alive (has a beating heart). That begins the second act, which has her carrying out her plan to assassinate the leader from issue 7 herself, with the help of Khonshu.
The story kind of retains its one-shot format for another issue, but after that it's a decompressed climax between issues 11-12. It puts all the pieces together and reveals the truth to you. The first six issues were always going to be tough to follow, but they really did a great job here that shakes up Moon Knight's world. Worth your read.
The series continued for 6 more issues with a different team. If it's at the library, maybe I'll read it, maybe not. But I do know this: you just haven't lived until you've seen a dude get kicked in the stomach so hard that he projectile vomits.
Moon Knight #5
White costume means you can take advantage of whitespace:
"Who are you supposed to be?"
"The one you see coming."