Moon Knight by Warren Ellis #1-3 review

‘Delayed reaction’ Moon Knight #1-3

Including a five page preview of #1

MOONKN2014001_DC11Moon Knight has a mixed and manic past as a comic character. Bi-polar even. He’s been penned and drawn by some comicbook heavyweights and rookies. He’s taken on the biggest and most powerful characters, and been tasked with chasing down street punks. He’s even held the head of Ultron and was haunted by Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Moon Knight’s unintentionally erratic past as a comicbook property mirrors the character’s different personalities in several ways. For some reason, hopefully other than Marvel’s need to renew the copyright, Marvel gives him another series. The last limited run by Brian Michael Bendis was a great series, with a different take on Moon Knight’s mental illness that saw him move to Los Angeles. Thankfully, the new series sees him return to New York.

The latest iteration of Moon Knight has, or had, by now, Warren Ellis as word and story-smith, and in many ways, redefines Moon Knight. Redefining is probably the wrong way to describe it. Marvel and Ellis strip away a lot of the veneer and trappings of Moon Knight: the costume, the at times overbearing focus on Khonshu and his past, the guest appearances and focus on his mental illness. The Warren Ellis Moon Knight starts as a singular vision and personality. A professional. He’s almost a force of nature.

The first issue starts with a very different Moon Knight. Dressed in all white with black complimentary colors, he makes his way to a crime scene in the Moon Knight version of the Google self-driving car. He is dressed like an assassin with a mask and 4-piece suit with magician’s gloves. He’s clinical with little pretense. He uses his intelligence and experience and little else. He inhabits and traverses a very dark section of New York City like an alley cat through, well, an alley.

Moon Knight picks up the trail of a killer that is waylaying well-built travelers and must track the killer because, of course, the detective and police department can’t find him. One of my pet peeves with the Marvel universe is that the police, government and those in positions of authority are utterly helpless without the help of superheros. Another thing I don’t like is Marvel’s over-reliance on S.H.I.E.L.D. They are all-powerful and seem to be connected to everything. Moving on.

The Warren Ellis Moon Knight lives in a sparsely populated New York. There is still a dull energy that ebbs and thumps underneath, and it somehow reminds me of a bygone comic era. Ellis doesn’t take himself too seriously though, and in issue 3, even pokes fun at an old comic standby;the punk-rock bad guy. Even when using the trope and peering through the 4th wall, Ellis cleverly adds in his own slants.

 

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As you move through issue #2, another aspect of Moon Knight reveals itself in a more traditional Moon Knight. The Moon Knight that has been heavily criticized as a Batman knock-off. He uses detective skills and an intimidating and over the top fear factor to get information. He’s rich and uses gadgets, and even has a dark and traumatic past. I can see the differences in Moon Knight from Batman of course, but I can also acknowledge the similarities. While we’re discussing that, it does also remind me that comics seem to rely on a few archetypes. The rich-playboy Tony Stark/ Marc Spector/ Bruce Wayne type, and the nerdy scientist good guys and villians.

So, the old-school Moon Knight shows up to chase down an assassin, who in turn is stalked by an assassin. The comic is glaringly stark with its choice of colors and the lack of sound. The comic uses that lack of sound, or sound-effects expertly and the panels that Ellis chooses give a phenomenal sense of space and drama. Issue #2, like every other issue leaves many questions. But like every issue, is a sufficient self-contained story.

 

 

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Issue #3 explores the parts of New York that can only be done properly in comicbook form. That barely lit and nearly empty part of New York that if lighted properly, would reveal things that should not be, and show evidence left behind that we would rather not know was there. Issue #3 starts just on the edge of that part of New York, where that line blurs and things start to get lighter. This is where Moon Knight encounters his first obstacle, and must lean on Khonshu and his vast stores of information and experience. The previously mentioned punk-rockers are much more dangerous than they appear, and Moon Knight must explore a different side of himself.

Throughout issues 1-3, Moon Knight is being rebuilt. Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey and team creatively reveal his background through conversations and encounters, and it never really feels like it’s going on. Shalvey is subtle in his approach and when Moon Knight jumps into action, it is explosive. Faces are expressive and the way he pulls attention towards the focal point of every panel is perfect for Ellis’ writing.

Moon Knight is broken down and rebuilt, and he even dwells in a dusty mansion with a few chairs and cobwebs fit for a Boris Karloff set, with colors that seem weary. Khonshu’s appearances are powerful, although appear subdued. Whenever the demi-god appears, it seems as though he is finally fed-up with Moon Knight and will devour his soul whole. Knonshu never does though. He keeps giving Moon Knight another chance, just like Marvel and I do.

The new Moon Knight is one of my favorite comic runs ever. I read through Moon Knight via my Marvel Unlimited subscription (which I can view on my iPad, iPhone and Mac. The browser version sucks quite frankly.) and the preview and images were provided by Marvel.

 

Moon Knight 1-3 by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey

Richard Paul Davis

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Fear and Gaming in Seattle

Yes yes I know that I love to write things from the edges of things, and writers say things are like other things that are like other things, but, so what. I haven’t written in awhile and that’s okay, because you haven’t been reading in awhile. So, here we go, and I’ll fire off some news and bits for your boiling pot of wanton desires. Eat it up!

That Nerd show-Kevin Smith episode

So Marcus Dave and I had some decent discussion on the show. I’ve never met Dave, but things seemed to go alright with him as a co-host. His connection was horrendous and I think there was a ton of lag. What stood out to me in the discussions we had was the different memories all of us have about Kevin Smith. Everyone can quote Clerks, or Chasing Amy, but we all had different points of view on what makes him great. I love the fact that he’s accessible, and is like the big brother you had, or your neighbor. The guy does a ton of things to help his friends, and you know what? I’m okay with that. Unless you have a shit ton of money, or connections, it’s incredibly difficult to break into entertainment. Music, comics, movies -any of it. If someone wants to begrudge him for throwing Walt Flanagan a line to get him some drawing gigs, so what. That’s what friends are for; to help.  So, I like that Kevin helps his pals that deserve it and because he’s still real. He grows and develops, and he branches out into comics.

 

Speaking of his comics, His Cacophony stuff with DC was wicked good. So good in fact, that some enterprising folks in Jersey City, New Jersey have decided to attempt a 3-part fan series about his comic series. I wanted to talk more about it on the show, but Dave wanted to say more sexist stuff (ha, you know you’re in trouble Dave) and I didn’t get enough time to go on about it. find the details and some links below. It’s directed by William Visnosky. 

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Original YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCTZw37a1FM

Crowd Sourcing Link http://www.igg.me/at/batman

Tweet by Kevin Smith http://www.twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith/status/518120725668851712

Walt Flanagan Endorsement https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=LsDPYqWCLIk

Liveforfilms.com Article http://www.liveforfilms.com/2014/10/06/kevin-smiths-batman-cacophony-is-becoming-a-fan-film/

 

What else? Delayed reaction to Walking Dead Season 2

Ok, so there are a few things I’ve tried to deal with, with the Walking Dead season 2 from Telltale Games. The game really got on my bad, dark and protective side. Trauma has a way of doing that to me. I think they were gratuitous with the treatment of Clem, and it didn’t need to be done. I don’t think any gaming journalist called them out on it, and I thought it was bullshit. I decided not to do a review, and I should’ve had more courage. I think the team ran out of ideas and they had a grown man, undeveloped and poorly written character smack her around in the game as a way to evoke and yank feelings out. It’s an old  method or device. I understand pushing the envelope and I understand it’s a gritty dark world. I also understand that the Telltale team is neck-deep in their own praise hole and overloaded with work. They did well on the first season, and The Wolf Among us was great stuff. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for the entirety of season 2. Gamers and journalists ate it up because it didn’t have glaring weaknesses. It’s bad and I’m saying it. No character that I ever cared about, except for the rabid dog in the first episode, and I began to care even less about Clem. That’s all for now because I may decide to do a delayed reaction article for it.

Tell me what to do! Comic-con Dallas

As if you weren’t going to be there anyway. Instead of leaving after your cosplay showdown with Michael Jackson and a bad Jack Skellington impersonator to wank and jank to the image of that beautifully created female Link you saw, head over to see This Saturday night shindig at The Gas Monkey on OCT. 18th. Details below. Music, clever witty banter, tons of beautiful nerd girls and others of your ilk. I understand there will be dancing and some holy ghost trancing. The last part is only a rumor.

Saturday Night Shindig: One Coultastic Evening

Jonathan Coulton, dancing, DJs, surprise guests, and You

He’s been called the Joss Whedon of music. He’s a mainstay at geek events in New York and Los Angeles, and now he’s heading for North Texas. Jonathan Coultonheadlines the next Saturday Sci-Fi Social, at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill on October 18, 2014.

https://www.picatic.com/OneCoultasticEvening

Comics-FUCK YEAH

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Ok, so I’ve picked up a few of the New 52 DC one shots, and I feel like a kid again. I have the Batman/Superman and the Superman, and wow, they’re great reads and help get you primed for the next big DC event Future’s End. Who knew that Shazam had taken over for the Caped Crusader? The covers are old school awesome holograms.   Moon Knight By Warren Ellis is top-notch. His writing and panels, use of lettering, or a lack of the lettering and sound really sets the tone quite well. White panels with black text usually stand out like a hippie at a Tea-party rally, but the man’s an expert at using space, and then exploding all over it.

 

 

In other comic news, yours truly is working away hard, long and fast on his graphic novel “Vile: Lost Legends of the American West.” We have a new artist named Francis Nuguit who has a great track record. He did some of the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” comics. I wish I could show you something from him, and we will soon. Head over to our facebook page to see some concepts, read the story synopsis and say hello. It’s a dark and emotional tale.

Vile:Lost legends of the American West

Alt logo for Vile
Alt logo for Vile

In future installments in this world named “Thunder Valley,” some of my friends will be appearing. My good buddy Hank Van Hawkins will be a former banker, gunslinger/gambler and mostly decent guy in the story. His name is Prickly Pear Van Hawkins. Many more of my friends will be appearing in and around the boomtown Serpentine including Appaloosa Red, who will play a madame with a dark secret and bright ambitions. Stay tuned for that, because we’re making it into a pen and paper RPG as well. Speaking of my buddy Hank, read on to read more.

SOBS

The boys playing some music together.
The boys playing some music together.

So Hank and I host a podcast about baseball, music, comics, songwriting and whatever else comes up. We need your support and look forward to you guys listening. Hank will also be joining me occasionally on my new Game/comics/randomness podcast. We’ll be featuring indie game developers, comics folks and others involved with things you love. I understand Ms. Appaloosa Red will be guest hosting with me as well. We’re gonna have burlesque, games, comics and mind-maddening music and other obligatory orgy activities. So, here is the link to the buzzsprout page where you will go listen to old episodes of SOBS. http://sobs.buzzsprout.com

 Game news?

I’ve got nothing relevant for you kiddos. Stop by IGN lol. Sorry, but this is the slow season and I’m actually digging on State of Decay again and playing the life in NHL 2014. Hope that covers it all.  Come by the twitter and try to go back and listen to some episodes of the podcasts, and for God’s sake, leave a comment or something. I need something to do while I’m kicking my own ass over not doing a better job of spellchecking. Ugh. I know this blog is ugly, but I’m too horrified to change it.Where’s my bourbon?