Moon Knight – Crazy Runs in the Family

Moon Knight comics, particularly in the last decade, have distanced themselves from early Batman comparisons by focusing on the one clearly established difference between the two characters (beyond a polar opposite preference in wardrobe color). While Bruce Wayne’s obsessive nature would test the limits of any human’s sanity, he remains a steadfast bastion of cognitive precision, the World’s Greatest Detective. Marc Spector, on the other hand, has a genuine psychological disorder, that, in the hands of writers such as Warren Ellis, Brian Wood, and Jeff Lemire, adds an engaging level of complexity to every mystery and every storyline.

The first arc of Moon Knight under the Legacy banner, “Crazy Runs in the Family,” concludes with this week’s issue, and, in keeping with recent tradition, and as the title would indicate, it’s been a marvelously offbeat showcase of Spector’s multiple personalities. Despite the expected level of weird, this story by Max Bemis, Jacen Burrows, and Guillermo Ortego has been unexpectedly unique, and maybe the most underrated title in Marvel’s line right now.

Bemis may be relatively new to the comics scene, but he’s clearly no slouch to storytelling, and avoids many of the growing pains that we’ve seen when other accomplished creators from other media break into comics. His dialogue, in particular, is deft and perfectly paced, fleshing out characters new and old as if he’d been writing them for years. Old nemesis Bushman displays a convincing mix of cowardice and rage, leaving the door open for a new arch-nemesis in the Sun King, sinister and consumed by self-righteousness. Moon Knight himself is irreverent and witty, without sacrificing conversation to an eye-rolling deluge of forced humor (see: Deadpool).

Despite new characters like the aforementioned Sun King and the tattooed bruiser who goes by The Truth, Bemis cleverly adheres to the Legacy directive by involving Frenchie, Marlene, and a fun twist on what that Spector’s sleazy Jake Lockley personality has been up to. And throughout these six issues, the art by Burrows and Ortego is fantastic, a refreshing change from the sloppy, rushed, and amateurish pages that Marvel has been churning out over the last few months during the Legacy death rattle.

The next issue, subsequent to “Crazy Runs in the Family,” features art by Ty Templeton, before turning over the reins to Paul Davidson. I’m expecting this series to only get better, and, with any luck, Bemis and Co.’s Moon Knight gets the attention it deserves in Marvel’s Fresh Start.

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