Monday, 19 October 2015

Moon Knight: Silent Knight #1 - Marvel Comics

Whilst admittedly containing plenty of festive elements such as Santa’s Grotto, Christmas Trees, Turkey dinners and romantic couples looking forward to a future of happiness and children. Peter Milligan’s script for “Silent Knight” is undoubtedly one of the darkest and most depressing Yuletide one-shots which “Marvel Comics” have ever published with its systematic brutalisation of everything ‘the season to be jolly’ holds dear. Indeed the thirty-two page periodical actually begins with the sadistic slaying of a portly, white-bearded Father Christmas by two masked gunmen just as he's serving up a wrapped gift to a youngster, and doesn’t then stop presenting instances of gratuitous violence befalling the blameless until its narrative’s conclusion when Moon Knight dispatches rough justice upon the badly battered surviving shooter; “Now comes the part that really hurts.”

Ordinarily such an overwhelmingly demoralizing portrayal of the winter holiday, and the seemingly random shattering of innocent dreams would probably prove a tough tiringly grim read for the 17,644 people who bought this comic in December 2008. But the British writer somehow manages to make this particular instalment of Marc Spector’s “holy mission” a genuinely enthralling read, and even manages to include a few ‘laugh out loud’ moments amidst the gruesome goings-on, courtesy of the smart-mouthed “manifestation of Khonshu that takes the form of an evil man”.

In fact the goading ghost of a person “Moon Knight himself killed years ago” is possibly the highlight of the storyline, as he pokes and prods the “mentally unstable” mercenary throughout the night, chastising the hero for his inactivity and indecisiveness as the two armed murderers mercilessly dispatch Santa and then go on to commit a seemingly fatal car-jacking whilst the former soldier was preoccupied “gazing stupidly at these lovers” through their apartment window.     

Less successful, on account of the artist’s somewhat rushed-looking sketchy drawing style and an over-reliance upon a swirling snow effect, is Laurence Campbell’s illustrations. Moon Knight himself is depicted competently enough, with Spector’s brooding shadowy visage appearing all the more impressive on account of some wonderfully heavy black and deep blue colouring by Lee Loughbridge. Yet whenever the former "Judge Dredd" penciller brings any of his characters into the light, such as the panels set within the flat of “Marc’s long-time lover” Marlene, his figures appear frustratingly flat and lifeless.
Writer: Peter Milligan, Artist: Laurence Campbell, and Colorist: Lee Loughbridge

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