Being a little out-there seems to work-out just fine in La-La land. Bendis, Maleev and Wilson introduce us to Moony's new LA pals while hitting their bullseye with Moon Knight #3.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Moon Knight #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Released: July 6th, 2011
$3.99 for 22 pages
In an all around great team effort, Matthew Wilson, the colorist of Moon Knight #3, stands out as the key reason this title is working as well as it is.
Brian Michael Bendis is taking the character in a direction that makes the character tangible and accessible to readers who are not into the flashy superhero. Moon Knight (3 issues in) has not even donned his after-Labor Day no-no outfit and yet we seem to be understanding the character more in 3 issues than we have in so many more issues previous.
As mentioned above, Bendis is able to delve into the subtleties of Moon Knight by achieving a visual tone that guides us on the direction of the title. That tone is achieved through not just the always wonderful Alex Maleev pencils, but also by a muted color scheme that brings the book to life. Most sequences in the book use about 3 to 4 colors which allows readers to both concentrate on the superb dialog Bendis uses to establish his character's outlooks and mind sets, and to frame the tone of the scene. The opening sequence, for example, uses colors that are a bit brighter than the rest of the book to play off of the flirtatious phone call Marc Spector (Moon Knight's secret identity) is having with Echo, a woman he is interested in professionally and personally.
A later scene calls for intensity as a newly hired ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant is being threatened by a Bullseye intent on gaining information on Marc Spector's secrets (his identity as Moon Knight). In this scene Matthew Wilson uses a limited color pallet once again. The colors are dark except for the whites of the character's eyes. This adds to the focus of the panel as each character tries to read into the other. Wilson also brightens the background to an intense yellow, or yellowish green, in a couple of panels to turn up the intensity of a particular moment. The colors really help the pacing of this issue and stand-out as a great example of how coloring can help tell a story while not distracting readers.
Colors aside, Alex Maleev is also very strong on art duties. His character designs and pencil shadings (which turn into ink shadings) also add to Bendis's excellent character portrayals in Moon Knight #3. Personally, I love how Maleev captures small details such as the way Marc Spectors white dress shirt wrinkles and folds depending on how his body is positioned. Maleev gives the shirt life which only helps add to the expressions of Marc Spector and feel to Moon Knight #3. Also, Maleev is always a gentlemen when it comes to his female designs. They are never over the top beautiful and are anatomically realistic when it comes to the chest region. It's true what they say, if you want to capture reality...draw boobs correctly. Well...they should say that.
Besides the art, which I obviously loved, the story in Moon Knight #3 moves along nicely. Bendis proves he is once again the king at defining his characters through one-on-one conversations and exchanges that are highly organic. The dialog flows while Maleev hits the visual beats, such as brief pauses in the conversations. I say brief because this is Bendis I'm talking about...the man loves to have his characters talk. Some men love to hear them selves speak. Bensis loves to see himself speak.
Bendis uses Moon Knight #3 as an issue where the reader views just how Marc has established himself in Los Angeles. The issue does well to establish his relationships with his new supporting cast and to also poke a little fun at the Moon Knight mythos. By having him be a creator/producer of a show about his life (basically) it makes for some situations where the show, and thus his mythos, is being critiqued. Marc Spector's own assistant thinks the show is bad. I find that this position of Spector having a show is sort of paralleling Bendis having a show (FX's Powers). Bendis also has a creation which when broken down into television form may seem a bit goofy. In a way, I think Bendis is writing Spector's show experience a lot like his own.
Moon Knight #3, and the series in general, isn't for everybody. Geoff Johns once spoke about how he reads comics because they can be big and flashy. He wants comics to be a big experience of things that can't be done in real life. Johns would hate Moon Knight. Moon Knight is grounded in reality and is in no way flashy. The colors are muted, the art is realistic and the dialog is, at times, long and subtle. For me, this creates a book that is accessible, but to others it may just seem boring.
If you are into more of the indie "day in the life" types of stories, yet enjoy a superhero book from time to time...pick up Moon Knight #3. You won't be disappointed.
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Review by: Dom G