Sunday, 5 April 2015

Moon Knight #7 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 7, November 2014
Editors Ellie Pyle and Nick Lowe must have worried what was going to become of this title with the simultaneous departure of both writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey after just six issues. Even with the devoted following of the Eagle Award winning author, “Moon Knight” was still regularly only selling approximately 37,500 copies per month, and now the Englishman along with his loyal admirers was gone. But rather than panic and allow another reimagining of the Fist of Khonshu, something so many new creative teams seem determined to do when placing their ‘unique mark’ upon a comic book character, the pair have admirably ordained that the new partnership of Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood simply pick up the baton and carry on running within the same race; and more fool the two thousand readers who dropped the magazine from their ‘pull list’ during the exchange. 

However initial (preview) impressions of “Blackout” are admittedly not especially favorable. For whilst the American comic book writer’s masked vigilante does indeed follow along a similar direction to this series’ previous depiction of the schizophrenic super-hero. The actual plot to the story, Mister Knight chasing down a rooftop marksman, is far too reminiscent of the earlier issue “Sniper”. Indeed the number of narrative commonalities is discerningly high with both single-issue scenarios involving the costumed crime-fighter intercepting the rooftop assassin just as they are ‘drawing a bead’ upon their intended target, both ex-military gunmen believing they have been wronged by their ‘prey’, and both exchanging blows and punches with the cowled crusader after the ex-mercenary has ‘swooped down’ upon them using some state-of-the-art gadgetry.

The only genuine difference arguably being that Wood’s storyline actually seems to contain much more pace and work better overall than Ellis’ past periodical; that and it provides a suitably shocking ending which will doubtless stun and perturb readers as much as it clearly does Moon Knight.

Greg Smallwood’s artistic composition is also extremely impressive. Honored by the website Multiversity Comics as the Number Two Breakout Artist of 2013, the American’s artwork isn’t debatably of quite the same standard as Declan Shalvey. But what he is extremely good at doing it telling a story through page layouts. So when Mister Knight intercepts the would-be assassin with a punch to the head, the panel is shaped so as to form the word “POW”, and when an off-target bullet strikes a car the outline of the drawing spells out the sound effect “SPANG”.

In fact Smallwood appears to get cumulatively cleverer with each configuration as the adventure, and plot’s pacing, increases. So that by the end of the combatants' confrontation, the reader is breathlessly giddy, having perused a couple of incredible fifteen paneled wordless pages chock full of action and another where the drawings’ frames create the shape of an exclamation mark.
The variant cover art of "MOON KNIGHT" No. 7 by Declan Shalvey

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