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Is new 'Moon Knight' series the new 'Hawkeye'?

Moon Knight #1 (2014)

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Like Marvel Studios, the comics company is rolling out Phase Two of their Marvel NOW! initiative. One of the new books on the slate is, curiously, a rebooted "Moon Knight" series.

Cover
Declan Shalvey/Marvel Comics
Art by Declan Shalvey
Marvel Comics

There's a simple formula here that we've already seen be extremely effective. Take a character nobody likes and let a ridiculously talented writer try out their spin on them. The character in question then was Hawkeye, widely regarded as the most useless of all Avengers. The writer, Matt Fraction, has become a juggernaut in the industry of Brian Bendis level. The result of this experiment is the best book in comics. Read that again. "Hawkeye" is the book in comics. No one could have ever seen that coming.

With that in mind, Marvel has "Moon Knight" in the masterful hands of Warren Ellis, for his first Marvel ongoing work since "Astonishing X-Men". Ellis has experience in rebooting floundering series and characters in the past with his amazing run on "Thunderbolts". Another "T-Bolts" vet, Declan Shalvey, handles the art duties. While his work on that series didn't really work, it is obvious that he has more freedom on "Moon Knight". In the same way that David Aja does in "Hawkeye", Shalvey bears a lot of responsibility in storytelling through each panel. The story unfolds and breathes in appropriately unpretty fashion. Jordie Bellaire largely monochromatic palette is striking and effective.

As for the concepts that Ellis introduces, they open up new and accessible avenues that readers should find fascinating. While this incarnation of Moon Knight is very intriguing, it isn't as instantly uproarious as "Hawkeye" was in its first issue. This series is going to be a slow burn that will likely deliver better than anyone expected.

Issue 1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics with #2 coming quickly on Mar 19. Check out the slideshow for the really cool variant covers.