There are some comics where the early issues tell you everything you need to know about it and the creative team. If you don’t like the first couple of issues, there isn’t much chance you’ll like issues seven or eight, and you can completely write that book off as not for you. The early issues of “Moon Knight” weren’t bad, or bad enough to drive me away, but they definitely didn’t suggest the rise in quality that’s slowly been happening as Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev build on previous issues to create a familiar sensation when you’re reading an issue. It’s not just a new issue, it’s a chance to hang out with characters that feel like friends. “Moon Knight” has become a pretty good ‘hang out’ comic.
Marc Spector (Moon Knight) is more loveably eccentric than the off-putting crazy guy he seemed when the series began. His attempt to hunt down the mysterious kingpin of Los Angeles showed him struggling, both personally and professionally. His small victory last issue over the kingpin, Count Nefaria, was the sort of moment that makes the character your new favorite hero. He’s been the crazy underdog throughout the series and, with a victory over a heavyweight like Nefaria to his credit, he’s suddenly looking more credible. His trio of ‘heroic advisors’ now seem like an asset that has proven successful rather than a liability doomed to bring him down. His budding relationship with Echo has had some touchy moments and looks almost like it’s settling in a place where neither is tempted to punch the other in the face.
So much of what makes “Moon Knight” #8 work is how well every scene plays off a previous moment in the series. Nothing seems to happen just to happen. It all has a sense that it’s coming out of what’s already happened. When Moon Knight drops Snapdragon in Detective Hall’s lap, it not only brings the two characters together but provides a chance to relive an earlier interrogation by Hall with different results. More than anything, this issue gives off the impression that everything that’s happened has had a purpose and we’re beginning to see what it is.
Even the art looks like it’s built on Alex Maleev’s work in previous issues. Familiar layouts and character moments are alluded to visually, like the interrogation scene, and his ease with the characters has obviously grown. Moon Knight looks more natural, more relaxed in his body language and that owes something to his recent successes, but also Maleev’s growing comfort with the character. His art on the series so far has been quite good and he looks like he’s only beginning to hit his stride with these characters.
Everything about “Moon Knight” #8 seems like an improvement over the previous seven issues. The level of ease and comfort is noticeably higher, as is the strong sense of direction. It’s not just Maleev that looks like he’s hitting his stride on this title, it’s Bendis as well. There’s always a period of getting to know characters and becoming comfortable with them and their world, and it seems like Bendis and Maleev have passed that point. This is a tight, entertaining issue, possibly the best of the series to date.