Hello everyone and welcome to the first edition of Looking through the Longbox. Looking through the Longbox is an article where all the staff and contributors here at Shoot the Breeze can talk openly about their favorite moments in comics. These article’s aren’t reviews, so there won’t be any final rating or score for the book. Just us talking about why we love these books and what they mean to us. Without further ado, I’ll kick things off by talking about one of my favorite books: Moon Knight Vol. 1: From the Dead.
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Declan Shalvey
Before I get into the book itself, I’ll start by giving a bit of backstory on the character of Moon Knight. Introduced in 1975, Moon Knight was basically a mirror version of Batman: a man with no actual super powers uses his wealth and skill-set to fight crime in the back alleys of New York City equipped with an array of gadgets and tools while wearing a costume meant to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. It’s easy to see the comparisons to Batman; for the longest time that’s basically what Moon Knight was. He was a mid-tier street level hero that never really got much recognition. Personally, I never knew much about the character myself outside of a base understanding of his origins and that his costume was cool. It wasn’t until picking up this book on a whim that I really came to appreciate Moon Knight as a character, especially as he is currently in the comics.
Moon Knight Vol. 1: From the Dead serves as a semi-reboot of the character. After disappearing for awhile, Moon Knight is back in New York with a new costume, ready to take down any scum that might threaten the city. Unlike most modern-day comics, this book is actually an anthology series. Each issue tells it’s own story, with no two issues being quite like the other. The stories range from taking down kidnapping thugs in an apartment complex to fighting punk-rock ghosts (yes, really). If you’re at all curious to know what else occurs, please pick up the book for yourself.
Why I Love the Book:
The first aspect of this book that I love is, as mentioned before, the anthology nature of the stories. It’s pretty rare these days to pick up a comic and have it not be either starting or continuing a multi-issue story. I used to read a lot of older comics collected in omnibuses and it was a lot of fun being able to go to any issue in the book and enjoy the story without needing any prior explanation as to what was going on. Comics have gotten used to doing longer narratives across multiple issues, which is fine, but I like that anyone can pick up this book and enjoy the stories without needing a lot of exposition. Each issue tells a concise story with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s the perfect type of book for someone looking to enjoy the character without needing to know a lot beforehand.
The artwork as well is fantastic. The character designs are all really well done, the backgrounds are very well detailed, and the coloring from issue-to-issue is great. One very nice detail is the different layout of panels between issues. For example, in issue 2, it starts off following a number of different characters, so the pages are filled with panels. But as more and more characters start to leave the story, the panels disappear until there’s just lots of white space left between the sparse remaining panels. It’s a very cool effect. Also, in another issue the lines between panels are much less defined, allowing the artwork to overlap into splash pages. Declan Shalvey and the rest of the art team do a great job making each issue feel unique in it’s style, but still keeping similar enough so as to not seem like a different book altogether.
Finally, we get to my favorite part of any comic book: the action. Each issue features some amazing action sequences utilizing different gadgets, settings, and even costumes. No two brawls are alike and each one is great to witness. The book is also uncharacteristically graphic, considering this is a Marvel book that isn’t part of it’s more mature line. Bones are visibly broken, brain matter is expelled, and there’s a fair amount of blood. Since the art style isn’t too realistic in it’s design, the graphic nature isn’t as pronounced. So if you’re a bit squeamish or not a fan of heavy violence, you should still be alright.
Why You Should Love it Too:
I’ve gone on longer then I usually do on why this book is so good, so hopefully if you’re still reading this you’ll consider picking up the book for yourself. The stories are action-packed and compelling, the artwork is beautiful and graphic, and most importantly, it provides a fresh take on the Moon Knight character as well as keeping true to his origins as a kick-ass crime-fighter (Batman knock-off or not). I wholeheartedly recommend getting the book, and if you enjoy it, by all means pick up the other two volumes as well. Volume 1 is available via our affiliate link below
Thank you so much for reading, and keep an eye out for more Looking through the Longbox articles from all of us here at Shoot the Breeze Comics!