As Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s six-issue run on “Moon Knight” begins to wind down, this issue in many ways could be looked at as almost filler. There’s not much story to “Moon Knight” #6, after all. But at the same time, it feels like this is an instance where Ellis is simply writing to Shalvey’s strengths to turn this into a spotlight on the art. Because in a week with a lot of good looking books, “Moon Knight” #5 is gorgeous.
The story itself is to the point and methodical; Moon Knight goes into an abandoned building to fight his way up to the 5th floor, where a kidnapping victim is held. And all the way up there, Moon Knight fights his way through a series of bad guys. That’s it; there’s a little snappy dialogue here and there, but on the whole, Ellis appears to be deliberately moving into the back seat this month. There’s nothing wrong with that in this case; he’s created the set-up for Shalvey to leap into center stage.
And oh, how beautiful Shalvey’s art is. Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire have created a series of truly gorgeous pages this month. Even something as small and simple as the contrast between Moon Knight and the guy on the street on page 2 works so well, right off the bat. The tip of the blade pushing up against the goon’s chin, the way you see the tendons and veins in his neck bulging… or for that matter, the visual contrast between the two. With Moon Knight being drawn without anything but the purest white and black, he looks almost like a ghost moving through the pages. Look at the flesh-colored wrinkles and lines on the bad guy’s neck, then move down to the panel below where the lines and shadows are devoid of any color. It’s a striking balance.
Moon Knight walloping the bad guys with his truncheon is amazing, too; the diving, the flipping, the tossing, and at times even the exploding… they’re all easy to follow and are just packed full of energy. It’s why there doesn’t need to be that much in the way of a plot to still enjoy this coming; even though the pages are packed full of panels, there’s so much happening that you can’t stop to think. I also like the Shalvey and Ellis have created a series of varying looks for the bad guys. From basic thug, to Kevlar-clad wannabe SWAT member, to someone looking suspiciously like Morris Day from the Time, those differing visuals once again help break up what could otherwise be monotony.
Don’t get me wrong, in many ways this might be the weakest overall issue of the Ellis and Shalvey run on “Moon Knight” because of the lack of any real plot. And knowing that they’re wrapping up their work here after the next issue, I do wish it was a bit meatier. But still… wow, does this comic look fantastic. If you’re going light on plot, this is absolutely the way to do it.