Friday, 23 January 2015

Moon Knight #2 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 2, June 2014
It is quite clear that writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey have really tried to do something ‘a little different’ with “Sniper”; a single-issue one-off story which provides both a commentary on the diversity of office work and a body count any serial killer would be proud of.

Indeed the first half of the book is really rather clever, if not increasingly barren, as each page depicts eight former members of a special operations group going about their day-to-day business in ‘civvy street’. As each individual’s working day simultaneously draws to an end they are brutally ‘picked off’ with headshots one by one, page by page, until the last is slain leaving his office building; a somewhat bloody event which is captured within a rather tiny frame, sat upon an otherwise blank page. As I say an ingenious method of creating tension, as you never know who will be shot next, and of telling a story, as it’s certainly captivating stuff.

Somewhat jarringly however the second part of the tale is, in many ways, a somewhat traditional “Moon Knight” affair as Marc Spector, garbed in an enormous white billowing cape that Bob Kane’s Dark Knight would envy, battles the sharp-shooting murderer. Having said that though much of the fist-fight is rather unconventionally told simply through the medium of Shalvey’s illustrations. As Ellis solely relies upon the Irish comic book artist to depict the roof-top confrontation for five straight pages; a bold and challenging storytelling technique. Indeed it isn’t really until the end of the fight, when a downed sniper is cold-bloodily dispatched by a ninth retiree from the global security field, that letterer Chris Eliopoulos actually has something substantial to do.

As a result this comic book is a rather swift read, and much of its success depends upon whether the reader is mesmerised enough by Shalvey’s artwork. Certainly the 2007 Eagle Award winner is capable of composing his pages with some extremely fast-paced panelling, and his sky-lines are both extremely well-designed and technically drawn. But his interpretation of Moon Knight’s symbolic all-white costume is a little too heavy on the carbonadium armour and black body-suit for my liking. Whilst his inconsistency in drawing a detailed face upon the gunman is infuriating, as they inevitably follow a series of exciting well-drawn frames depicting the Fist of Khonsu in the heat of the action, and thus jolt the reader out of the action-packed moment.
The regular cover art of "MOON KNIGHT" No. 2 by Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

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