Moon Knight #21
A sinister pied piper plays a deadly tune - one that spells death and chaos to all who hear it! Moon Knight and his companions are put in an impossible situation: How do you fight someone whose will is not their own?
Moon Knight #21 – written by Jed MacKay with art from Alessandro Cappuccio, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, and letters from VC’s Cory Petit – hits the dance floor as Reese, Soldier, Jake Lockley, and a few friends take the night off after last issue’s attack from the Harlequin Hit Men. The brainwashed assassins make a quick comeback as someone targets the club the vampires (and cabbie/vigilante) are dancing in. A fight breaks out as the DJ (truly the worst of villains) spins their records and hypnotizes the humans in the crowd. After a Moon Knight-led beatdown, the group realizes whoever’s behind the Harlequins is testing mind control sound technology on regular citizens, and their machinations are not finished.
MacKay’s script balances the action and decompression for the group well, riffing off the characterizations built throughout the previous 20 issues. Reese is given the focus of this issue, and the use of narration from her perspective helps to show the slant she carries for both the crazy world that comes with Moon Knight and the vampire experience. As she describes her heightened senses and what they pick up in the club, it highlights what’s been lost by being transformed. The experience is balanced out later in the issue, as she reveals what she’s learned from her lessons with Blade. Reese can now shift into a mist form, mastering the skill with relative ease, allowing her to defeat the devious DJ.
The story picks up from the plot of the last issue but makes excellent callbacks to both the major storylines of the run, the vampire infestation of New York, and Zodiac’s machinations. MacKay anchors these points in moments of action and character, ensuring that even as the run approaches close to two years, many of the beats feel like they appeared in the last issue. The scripting in the issue works just as well on the exterior, continuing with a strong interwoven structure that gives the book a different feel from most titles on the shelves.
Much of that resonance is thanks to the familiar aspect of the book that anchors the story in a specific aesthetic. Cappuccio’s art has never been more concise or even than this issue, refined to the point of powerful silhouettes and pulsating action. The image of Moon Knight crashing from the ceiling is iconic in a series full of iconic images. The physics of the vigilante arching his cape as he leaps across the crowd of people is immaculate, full of expression while maintaining a grounded realism that matches the line this book walks each issue. That style is also an excellent fit for rendering the antagonistic DJ, giving the figure a spectral appearance that feels looser than Reese when she enters her mist form.
Cappuccio’s art thrives in part thanks to Rosenberg’s coloring, which gets the chance to play with a new palette while reinforcing the already classic hues of the series. Rosenberg’s colors and Petit’s lettering help sell the club’s atmosphere, with blinding pink and purples working in tandem with SFX of RUMBLE and BOOM. The combination creates the effect of sensory overload as the group dances, and Reese’s description of the experience only enhances the effect produced by these elements. Breaking into new coloring also helps to reinforce the intended effect and becomes evident as the book shifts into more familiar shadows and green blues that cloak Moon Knight.
The splash of Moon Knight breaking through the overhead window allows the light to enter and brings a shift in tone. As the book moves from a more character-driven experience, Rosenberg’s color signals the action is here as the blue floods the page filled with lingering pinks. It’s an excellent transition that guides the eye and reinforces the physicality of Moon Knight as he tries to avoid but is forced to fight the mind-controlled people. The coloring then continues and bathes Reese in the same blues as she shifts into her mist form, moving beyond the physical into something more abstract, like the mythic quality that bathes the Fist of Khonshu. It’s an excellent detail that plays on Moon Knight’s influence on Reese throughout the run.
Moon Knight #21 is a perfect reminder of what makes the series such a fun and compelling read every month, thanks to its combination of long-game characterization and established aesthetics. MacKay moves out of the Moon Knight perspective and puts a focus on Reese, giving the book a refreshing heat that extends into the coloring and lettering choices of the issue. Cappuccio’s art captures that balance as it plays on the anatomy and physicality of both characters while working with Rosenberg’s colors to play on the strengths of the series. Even 20 issues in, this book is proof that extended runs are not a diminishing return, and make the case for allowing a run to breathe and develop.
Moon Knight #21: Too Many Vamps (on the Dance Floor)
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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