Moon Knight #13
The scars of Zodiac's attack linger with the faithful of the Midnight Mission, but that doesn't stop Moon Knight from picking an entirely new fight. A new arc begins as Moon Knight goes to war with the vampires of the Structure, but he finds it a battle on two fronts—one on the midnight streets, the other within his own mind!
Moon Knight #13 – written by Jed McKay with art from Federico Sabbatini, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg and lettering from Cory Petit – picks up right after the events of issue #12, and the fallout of Zodiac’s machinations can still be felt through the Midnight Mission. But in an interesting change of pace, McKay doesn’t let the team dwell, throwing them straight into a plot point from the early issues of the series: the vampire pyramid schemes running across New York. That narrative choice pays off well, as it infuses manic energy into the script that keeps the pulse of the issue pumping. It’s clear that at some point, things are going to come crashing down for Marc and the other personalities, but for the moment, it’s all high-octane fights, reintroductions of classic Moon Knight foes, and a war between the former mercenary and scammy creatures of the night. The plot is the best combination of Moon Knight elements, the crime angle mixed with the supernatural, and makes the book one of the more refreshing titles on Marvel’s stack.
McKay’s strength in this issue is his great use of continuity, from Taskmaster’s relationship with Moon Knight to the deep cuts for villains, which is the selling point of this book. If you’ve never read the Charlie Huston and David Finch run on Moon Knight, you should definitely correct that after finishing this review, as it’s a story that is insane in a way that doesn’t seem possible in a Disney-owned Marvel landscape. But after this issue, it’s clear that it will be a rewarding read, as it appears to be informing the current plot. For a character like Moon Knight, who is just below the spotlight of Marvel heroes, even with the profile riser of a TV show, it’s sometimes easier to steer away from continuity to tell a unique story. Instead, McKay doesn’t back away, and dives headfirst into that scattered, chaotic continuity of the Fist of Khonsu and weaves a strong, urban fantasy story with seemingly potent repercussions in the magical sphere of the Marvel Universe.
Sabbatini’s line work is tighter than the book’s primary artist Alessandro Cappuccio and more coherent overall, but the trade-off is Sabbatini doesn’t take the big swings that a typical issue’s art will. It’s true in most of Cappuccio’s issues, there are some rough patches here and there, specifically in compositions and facial expressions, but when they’re willing to really dig in and go big in an issue, like the godly realm of Khonsu from the last few issues, and the undead army that accompanies it. It’s a worthy trade-off, as the little details get forgotten in the haze of time between issues, but those stunning layouts and sequences linger way past the back cover.
This isn’t to devalue the work that Sabbatini puts into the issue, which is still amazing to take in. He’s able to capture a fluidity that does a character like Moon Knight well, giving it a slick aesthetic that keeps the pace moving, and utilizes strong panel compositions to keep that rhythm uninhibited. The issue reads quickly, handling exposition and a running narration well, without getting bogged down by the words on the page. But by the end of the issue, it was a struggle to remember a visual or panel in the same way as a Cappuccio-drawn issue. A few come close, like Moon Knighting catching up with Taskmaster, or a shot of Moon Knight post-fight, his cape shredded, allowing light to peek through. Both cases are great representations of the issue, in that they’re striking on the page, but they don’t exactly linger past the flip.
The true hero of this issue is Rosenberg’s coloring, which gives a unified palette to this series, across the various artistic styles. The use of vibrant colors blended with harsh darks and bright whites gives a striking silhouette to the heroes and villains of the books alike and helps to form that visual opinion of Moon Knight. There are pages in this issue that almost work better as just backgrounds with these color ranges, and imbue a greater sense of tone and atmosphere to Sabbantini’s already solid art. Rosenberg is one of those colorists that pops up in a variety of books, but this series feels like her swinging for the fences and getting great success doing it. It’s not hard to think when people look back and discuss this run of Moon Knight, Rosenberg’s coloring will be in the same breath as Declan Shalvey or Bill Sienkiewicz’s art.
Moon Knight #13 is a firm place to start for new readers of the book and continuing fans, as it contextualizes the previous issues and advances plots from early arcs. With a gorgeous color palette and strong art overlaid on an excellent plot full of deep cuts, it’s not hard to see why Mark Spector has been able to survive the year and barrel forward in this volume. With an arc centered around vampire pyramid schemes and d-list villains, one can hope that the book will continue the spirit that makes it unique and that the art will take crazy swings as the plot continues to unfold.
Moon Knight #13: D-Listers in the Moonlight
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10