Following a critically acclaimed creative team on a well-received book for a cult-classic hero is not the easiest thing in the comic book world to do, but Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood step up to do just that with “Moon Knight” #7. Rather than relaunch the series (again) or put an unnecessary amount of time between issues, editors Ellie Pyle and Nick Lowe know well enough to keep the gears of forward progress grinding, and they’ve found a nice match in Wood and Smallwood. Colorist Jordie Bellaire and letterer Chris Eliopoulos remain onboard, providing creative consistency
“Moon Knight” #7 is a fairly pedestrian, by-the-numbers caper of headstrong purpose crossing dedication to duty, but Wood uses the entirety of this comic book to project the plot and identify the players. The plot is simply that Moon Knight is trying to stop an assassination attempt. The story behind said attempt reaches into the oozy grays and murky in-between shades, but Moon Knight is wearing white and he sees the black hat in his city. The writer has some fun with Moon Knight’s glib personality and also tinkers with the character’s handy tech.
Smallwood, Bellaire and Eliopoulos are simply masterful in their visual contributions to “Moon Knight” #7, from the shifting “smart camouflage suit” to the action conscribed to sound effects, propelling the crux of the story forward in “POW,” “SPANG” and “KRASH.” These three panels, carefully carved into effects and doused with lush color, turn the story. While Smallwood is perhaps overly generous with his gutter spacing, the amount of detail he jams into every panel is breathtaking. He draws Moon Knight showing sarcastic amusement, but remembers to keep the vigilante’s mask in the equation: the eyelets don’t move, but the eyebrows do. Bellaire preserves graphite edges in the creases and wrinkles of Moon Knight’s suit, keeping the color a dazzling white, but giving it a believable texture. Smallwood deftly lays out each page, adding emotion and action to a fun story. On my third pass through “Moon Knight” #7, I caught an exclamation point cast into the action, clearly showing me there is more thought and energy in Smallwood’s work than it appears from a surface glance. Bellaire’s colors add to the action and mood of the story, while Eliopoulos maneuvers the word balloons into the most beneficial positions and uses the full range of all caps and mixed case to deepen the tale.
What appears to be a simple, straightforward adventure with some fists thrown and fancy technology flying around is actually an enjoyable, nearly definitive introduction to Moon Knight. Wood has a solid handle on the action that is necessary to keep this series rolling and he shows he can guide the character through a standard-issue adventure, so from here he just needs to dig a little deeper into the days and times, trials and tribulations of Moon Knight. Thankfully, he has a bedrock-solid trio of comic book masters to collaborate with, putting “Moon Knight” #7 in the same stratosphere as the work currently being done on “Daredevil.”