Moon knight (2021) #1: Marc Is As Crazy As Ever
With Marvel’s movies and recent shows on Disney Plus, tons of comics release along with the MCU’s schedule of newest blockbusters and dramas on the small screen. Recently, fans have been gifted with a U.S.A Agent mini-series, a Falcon and Winter Soldier storyline, and a new Kang solo series to accompany some of Marvel’s recent additions to the MCU. Not to mention, a Taskmaster series hit shelves before the release of Black Widow, a minor yet entertaining series nonetheless. And then, a Moon Knight series was announced for the streaming service, undoubtedly giving rise to a new series from writer Jed Mackay, and artist Alessandro Cappuccio. So, the MCU hype train continues with the first dropping two weeks ago, attempting to reign in a rather crazy character with a crazier backstory and history within the industry.
Moon Knight is a challenging character to write, not just because of the multiple personality thing or complex relationship with an Egyptian god- but rather is due to the inconsistency in how the character is written. Marc Spector’s personality isn’t as defined or concrete as others like Tony Stark or Steve Rogers, with some writers focusing solely on Mark’s main personality, simply ignoring the alternate ones as a whole as readers are given a barrage of action from Moon Knight. Others make his stories more internalized, focusing on Marc’s mental struggle while side-lining the adventures of Moon Knight. So, it’s hard for new writers, with fans having their preferences on what the character should do and how he should be written, and perhaps, that is part of why some of the recent Moon Knight stories haven’t become anything all that special. But he’s still fascinating regardless of what others think.
A psychotic superhero who is sworn to an Egyptian god of safe travel during the night, along with the fact that Marc has several personalities in his head and wears white just so villains can see him coming at night is what fans love about the crazed hero. The craziness is what gives the character depth, potential, and perhaps is what contributes to some of the inconsistency in writing. Marc is such a complex character, perhaps one of the most in the Marvel and DC universes, and the potential that comes from said complexity is something that is so incredibly difficult to pull out of the character, much less control. Insanity- both internally and externally is the formula of Marc Spector, a series of inputs that perhaps make the character seem “straightforward” to some, but trust me, the oversimplified formula is actually what makes Marc such a hard character to reign in and create comics with, but I think Mackay found a way to control the beast that is Moon Knight, setting the groundwork for a story that has potential to be one of Marc’s most interesting yet.
So, what makes a good Moon Knight comic, and did Mackay create one with the help of Cappuccio? Well, the short answer is yes, but of course, there’s always more to it than that. To start, Moon Knight is a character that needs to be darker in tone, and readers are gifted that from beginning to end as Marc is seen killing Vampires, dismembering Vermin clones, and trashing local thugs. Mackay has truly taken Moon Knight and depicted a darker, more violent, as well as volatile version of the character, and if you ask me, that’s where Spectre’s bread and butter is. To see Moon Knight staking vampires in the heart and brutalizing villains (in a very bloody way) brings goosebumps to my skin as I couldn’t be more amped to see Spector depicted in such a way. Now, darker tones aren’t exactly strange in Moon Knight comics, but what I love from Cappuccio’s art is that Spector always looks like a menacing, unhinged monster. Spector is almost always taking up most of the panel, giving him a pressing, more intimidating appearance. And, after mixing that with the character’s white costume contrasted with heavy, pitch-black shadows that give the character a more “ominous” look, Marc truly looks like a butcher of criminals.
Secondly, Moon Knight is built on being insane, and well, there’s not an overwhelming amount of alternate personalities in the first issue. Sure, personalities such as Jake are mentioned, and it is made clear that Khonsu is currently separated from Mark, but the craziness isn’t on full blast. However, there’s just enough to make the reader feel slightly uneasy about Mark. Mackay has given Mr. Knight a rather substantial role as a leader of a cult-like church the strives to protect the community, as well as serve as Khonsu’s right hand. It’s weird as Marc finds himself striving to be what Khonsu should’ve been (with Khonsu turning evil in a recent Avenger’s storyline), and becomes obsessed with this cause. Mark is blind to everything else, with his only concern being the protection of travelers at night- and that combined with the cold brutality of the Moon Knight personality gives readers just enough “crazy” to make Mark feel deranged and psychotic.
Then, for a Moon Knight comic to be good, you need to have a villain that seems almost as crazy (if not as crazy) as Marc himself. And well, Mackay hit the nail on the head with that one, presenting a character claiming he’s the “left hand” of Khonsu, believing Marc to have abandoned Khonsu’s cause instead of pushing it forward. And this character refers to himself as “Hunter’s Moon,” claiming he will correct Spector and stay loyal to Khonsu. Now, I don’t know what others think, but a villain that is essentially a variant of Marc seems like the perfect villain to take on the Moon Knight, and well, he seems to be better than Bushman if we’re being honest. So, in the final moments of the first issue, Hunter’s Moon was revealed, leading me to believe that Mackay has checked every box that makes a good Moon Knight story, and has even built the groundwork for potentially one of Moon Knight’s best stories to ever be published.