|MOON KNIGHT No. 3, August 2014|
For a comic published during the height of the summer-time there’s a real winter holiday feel to “Box”, not least because the majority of the action takes place on a cold New York city street, its pavements clogged with sleet and snow, its icy road predominately hidden beneath a carpet of white. However that isn’t the only reason why a reader may feel a chill as writer Warren Ellis appears to have taken a page straight out of the script for the 1989 motion picture “Ghostbusters 2” and created a haunting festive tale of restless undead spirits preying upon the hapless pedestrians of downtown Manhattan.
These spikey haired phantom punks initially appear simple fare for ‘Mister Knight’, as the hooded, three-piece suit wearing vigilante quickly arrives at the scene of their third manifestation to distribute his own brand of thoroughfare justice. Confident and quick to throw a punch, the Fist of Khonsu is as shocked as the reader to discover he is incapable of hurting the green-hued ghosts. Whilst they on the other hand can inflict some quite considerable damage on the one-time mercenary. Indeed it’s rare to see the co-creation of Doug Moench and Don Perlin take such a sound beating. Not that it in anyway dampens the crime-fighter's determination to best them.
It does however cause Marc Spector to create easily his most bizarre costume yet, as he scours his collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts looking for both armour and raiment for combating the dead. The ensemble such a search creates is both fantastic and absurd, with Moon Knight wearing an enormous beaked skull and the wrappings of an embalmed mummy. The ensuing fist-fight is superbly drawn by artist Declan Shalvey, with the heavily bandaged super-hero arguably having never looking more imposing and menacing; though some of his renderings of the dismembered spirits are disappointingly poor. Indeed the 2010 Eagle Award nominee’s full-page illustration of the super-hero splitting a ghost's head wide open with a solid punch is appallingly pencilled, as gruesome in its line work as it is in its subject matter.
Indubitably trounced, the ghouls flee to an abandoned tenement where they are found to be the restless remains of a criminal gang long-slain by their leader in a moment of conscience. Somewhat reverently, Ellis has Moon Knight collect the small toy music box within which the spirits reside, and in a final, wordless, somewhat poignant panel, the Fist of Khonsu consigns them to a watery grave deep beneath the silent surface of East River.
|The variant cover art of "MOON KNIGHT" No. 3 by Ryan Stegman|