Moon Knight is no stranger to #1 issues. Even before this current All New All Different relaunch, the character has captained a self-titled series eight different times. And that’s just since 1980. No wonder the poor bastard has dissociative identity disorder.
The latest volume, courtesy of Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, and Jordie Bellaire, is the 68th new ongoing series since Marvel kicked off the ANAD initiative last October (which includes a few titles already ticketed for cancellation; Hercules is the only one I’m bummed about). We’re in Week 28 of All New All Different Marvel, by the way, if anyone other than us is still counting.
If anyone can give us a fresh take on a character struggling to figure himself out as well as his surroundings, it’s Marvel’s current Master of the Broken Superhero.
Lemire got major focus group points on both Hawkeye and Old Man Logan, and his Extraordinary X-Men is one of our favorite team books. But, partnered with the art of Smallwood and Bellaire, this might be his best book in the batch.
Moon Knight’s alter ego, Marc Spector, has long been criticized as being a cheap Batman knockoff. He’s wealthy, scrappy in a handfight, and makes use of so many wonderful toys. Except this white-clad crimefighter, ironically, is the one who is genuinely batshit crazy. He also gets his motivation and direction from Khnoshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon. Not scary flying mammals and dead parents. WAY different.
Lemire carefully avoids the pitfalls of having to re-introduce a character and his origins to a new audience by giving this iteration a new twist. Spector may or may not be insane, but he does wake up in an insane asylum. Within this first issue, new readers are given everything they need to know about Moon Knight, and readers already versed in the character are hanging on for an immediately engaging mystery. Smallwood’s stylized layouts capture the multiple personalities and disjointed realities brilliantly. This series feels like a keeper, but it’ll remain to be seen how long he can stave off yet another reboot (the longest-running Moon Knight lasted sixty issues, from 1989-1994).
Other Marvel Highlights:
Moon Knight wasn’t the only All New All Different ongoing series making its debut this week. After making her first appearance in a back-up feature in the latest volume of Howard the Duck, Gwen Poole, AKA Gwenpool, smashes through comic book boundaries and into the pages of her own series thanks to Chris Hastings and Gurihiru. The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1 imagines a “real” person (like you or me) somehow finding herself in the fictional universe of Marvel comics.
Except, unlike Mark Millar’s Spielberg-y 1985, this is a comedy, in the wonderful company of titles such as the aforementioned Howard, Hellcat, and Spider-Man/Deadpool. When a gal doesn’t think she can die, or even get arrested, she’s going to, you know… use guns to kill fools.
It’s twisted, amusing, and a great spoof on many of the classic plot devices we’ve been accustomed to over decades of superhero stories. It’s the comic book version of the Deadpool movie. Except, I guess, with fewer boner jokes. Also pay close attention to the testimonial sign in the window of Big Ronnie’s Custom Battle Spandex. Fantastic.
Heart Throb, published by Oni Press, manages to pull off an impressive feat of making me get involved with a character while laying down the foundation for a good premise. Christopher Sebela (High Crimes) has always proven himself to be a writer who cares most about character. He knows the simplest of stories can be amped up as long as the reader is fully invested in the character and Heart Throb is no exception.
Callie is a woman in the past who was born with a bad ticker. She was always treated at arm’s length. After trying to believe in the system and failing, she is given the chance to get the new heart transplant surgery of the 1960’s. This doesn’t exactly fix her as she still feels the odd man out. Her surgery isn’t a new heart but rather a five-year extension of her old one. Callie wants to break. Luckily her new heart is from a con man named Mercer. Only she can see him and it seems that they are in love; but this a con story. Things flip and everything is turned upside down.
Robert Wilson IV doesn’t slouch either, as he really makes Callie connect. He can show her being a vulnerable, ill, or just broken person. Callie is complex and flawed, so Wilson brings just as much as Sebela’s script does.
All in all, I’m excited and want to read more. Plus this comic is all about Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Give me more con stories about deep characters. – BC