Monday, 13 April 2015

Moon Knight #8 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 8, December 2014
It is said that imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, and this title’s new(ish) creative team of Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood have certainly made an attempt with Issue Eight of “Moon Knight” to mimic the innovative approach to storytelling employed by their predecessors. But whereas the work of former writer Warren Ellis came across as a series of fresh nervy adventures, full of invention as well as enthralling atmosphere and dynamic action, “Live” reads as a somewhat cold and lack-lustre collection of twenty pages whose scenes appear as choppy and confusing as the multiple personalities which plague the titular character.

Much of this disconnection is invariably due to the manner in which the Vermont-born author has decided to tell this particular tale of a suicide bomber holding an office full of workers hostage. Which, whilst certainly ‘out of the box’ as the action is followed via the video recordings of phone cameras, robot scarab streaming feeds, security footage and television coverage, also unfortunately provides the proceedings with a sense of remoteness and distance that is arguably unappealing. Such a technique also requires any dialogue to be placed outside each panel as opposed to simply being contained within a speech bubble, and thus warrants the re-reading of certain pages just to ensure events are fully understood. This is especially necessary when having secretly entered the office, Moon Knight starts to schizophrenically swap between the identities of Grant and Lockley, and it isn’t terribly clear at first just who is doing the talking…

The plot is also somewhat sketchy and annoyingly illogical at times. It is never made clear just what the significance of the serial numbers is which the bomber gets one of his captives to read out at the start of the comic. Nor does it make any sense why the masked vigilante would ask Detective Flint to phone his Doctor “before all of this escalates out of all restraint and reason.” What horrific wound does the hero inflict upon the terrorist in order to give the disgruntled employee “something to remember me by” and why? Whatever injury he sadistically caused it was certainly bloody and stupidly seemed to play straight into the hands of the media (and his untrustworthy physician) by giving them reason enough to label “the man in white” as “the terrorist we need to be looking for.”

Sadly Greg Smallwood’s illustrations are as inconsistent as the storyline, with the Kansas-based artist’s pencils, tightly squeezed into several sequences of small rectangular panels, lacking any great clarity or detail. Indeed, the American’s design of Lockley’s Moon Knight costume, a black body stocking with a sculpted white face mask and chest plate gives the character the disappointing air of being some sort of awkward looking automaton. Not the swift-moving competent martial artist which presumably Wood had in mind when he scripted the scene.
The variant cover art of "MOON KNIGHT" No. 8 by Declan Shalvey

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