Review: Shadowland: Moon Knight #1

Published on September 6th, 2010

Just in case you’re unaware…Moon Knight is freaking nuts!  Seriously, the guy has dissociative identity disorder, better known as multiple personality disorder.  That said, I’m really starting to love Moon Knight.

Shadowland: Moon Knight #1 of 3 takes place before Shadowland #2 which came out last month.  It’s written by Gregg Hurwitz with art by Bong “coolest name ever” Dazo (I gave him that nickname).  This, like many of the other Shadowland spinoffs, explores another side of the Shadowland story arc and shows how Moon Knight gets to his Shadowland debut in Shadowland #2.

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So, Moon Knight’s birth name is Marc Spector, but, because that personality got just too damn unstable, he killed it off and another personality named Jake Lockley (a streetwise cabbie) became dominant.  Since then he’s managed to get his life somewhat on track.  He’s got a vast fortune thanks to another personality, Steven Grant, and he’s madly in love with his longtime girlfriend, Marlene.  He’s so even keeled he’s not killing criminals anymore!  If that’s not a benchmark for sanity I don’t know what is.

So of course, this can’t last.  In Shadowland: Moon Knight #1 Daredevil, the now crazed leader of The Hand, hires a mysterious…hitman?  It doesn’t tell us yet who this chap is or what exactly he does, only that he has some connection to Khonshu, the Egyptian God who Moon Knight is the avatar for (just go look up Moon Knight on Wikipedia, his history is convoluted as Hell).  Daredevil hires him because he wants Moon Knight.  For what?  We don’t know yet.

This mysterious fellow believes, ostensibly based on whatever history he has with Khonshu, that Moon Knight biggest weakness is the fact that he thrives on being the special, sole avatar of Khonshu.  So he goes out and finds someone whose life is a complete shambles who would give anything to be special.  He finds a former soldier/family man who developed a concussive eye blast during the war.  He accidentally killed a fellow American soldier with this ability, got dishonorably discharged, lost his pension, healthcare and eventually his wife and daughter.  With nothing left to live for, he jumps at the chance to serve Khonshu and vows to do anything Khonshu tells him.

Unfortunately, Khonshu demands blood.  Lockley has been holding Khonshu back even though Khonshu appears to Lockley as a giant, scary, half bird, half juiced up MMA fighter.

Now Khonshu is sending the new avatar, Shadow Knight, after Moon Knight.  Shadow Knight starts by killing hookers and leaving threats to Moon Knight written in blood.  Meanwhile, Lockley goes on his nightly cabbie runs where he’s picked up by Steve Rogers (Moon Knight and Steve are ol’ buddies now that they’re on Secret Avengers together) who sends Lockley on the mission to infiltrate the Shadowland prison where we find him in the beginning of Shadowland #2.

The book ends with Shadow Knight breaking into Jake and Marlene’s home and beating Marlene, who earlier revealed to Jake that she’s pregnant, to a bloody heap.  Across town Jake is being carried off to the Shadowland prison completely unaware that Marlene is being completely pwned.  Bummer.

The writing on this book is really good.  Hurwitz has been writing Moon Knight for a while and brought about this new, more stable side of him, so he knows the character pretty well.  It’s also cool to see that this issue is a prequel to Shadowland #2.  Dazo’s art is good, but it’s a little hard to follow at certain points.  He does do some pretty damn impressive gore when Shadow Knight starts his hooker killing.

Aside from the sometimes non-linear art this mini is shaping up to be really impressive.  There’s a lot of Shadowland tie ins out there right now, but this one gets my recommendation.

Ian Candish
Ian@ComicImpact.com