So Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s epic run on Moon Knight is over. It lasted six issues and included crazy killers, punk ghosts, weird dreamscapes, and a Giant Fucking Bird Skull. And even though we are sad to see it end, we are happy we got to read it in the first place.
But here’s the thing: Warren Ellis didn’t just write six great issues of Moon Knight. The six issues he wrote also included various reflections of Moon Knight - different phases that he could have been, that he might have become. And each issue referenced another issue from the original 1980 Moon Knight run by Doug Moench. So let’s go through them, shall we?
Issue #1: “Slasher”
“So I’ve got this straight: You go up, you hide, you watch and track fit people, and then you kill them, take pieces of them down here, and paste them into your body with obsolete, exotic machinery. And you think this is the best use of their lives and your time and skills.”
“No offense, buddy, but you’re a mile underground wearing a white suit and a bag on your head.”
The first issue shows us the first phase of Moon Knight: a soldier, injured, dead, who becomes something more. However, the villain, instead of being resurrected by a moon god, repairs himself with other people, preying on those who would travel by night. And Moon Knight protects those who travel by night...
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #2, “The Slasher”
Issue #2: “Sniper”
The villain in this issue is the most obvious reflection of Marc Spector: a mercenary left to die now out for vengeance. But Moon Knight’s vengeance is the vengeance of Khonshu against those who would harm travelers by night, not the vengeance of a petty sniper.
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #17, “Master Sniper’s Legacy”
Issue #3: “Box”
The “Moon Knight punches ghosts” issue. But what is Moon Knight himself if not a ghost? After all, there is a reason he was named Marc Spector. But the ghosts in this issue are all trapped in the past, stuck in an endless loop of violence generated by a repeating loop of music from a music box. Is Moon Knight any different in his cycles of violence though?
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #31, “A Box of Music for Savage Studs”
Issue #4: “Sleep”
The reflection in this issue isn’t actually the villain - it’s the victim. A subject of a sleep study who died, but was left in a state of perpetual dreaming and who dragged everyone in the vicinity into his dreamscape. Again: someone who died, but couldn’t stay dead, just like Moon Knight. These first four issues have all featured people who found some way to stay alive after they died.
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #12, “The Nightmare of Morpheus”
Issue #5: “Scarlet”
Ah, here’s where things get tricky: there are a ton of villains in this issue, but none of them really stand out, they are all simply mobsters with no names. But there is the kidnapped girl, Scarlet:
“It’s a mask. Did they hurt you at all?”
“No. They just carried me places. It’s not a mask. It’s your face.”
Everyone thinks she’s dead, but she’s not. She’s saved by Moon Knight, just as he was saved by Khonshu. (Okay, I may be stretching here, but still.)
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #14, “Stained Glass Scarlet”
Issue #6: “Spectre”
And now we hit the last issue and we see the clearest reflection of Moon Knight: Officer Ryan Trent, who just wants to feel special and knows the only way to do that is to kill Moon Knight and replace him. And to this end, he takes the name of a previous Moon Knight villain, Black Spectre. (It’s no coincidence that the name of this issue refers both to him and to Moon Knight’s real name, Marc Spector.) And we come across the big difference between them:
“Let me tell you a thing about Black Spectre. He really just wanted to be loved. He wanted his dad and his wife to love him. Wanted his crew to love him. Wanted the whole city to love him. I don’t know you. Let me tell you a thing about me. People who love me suffer and die. I never want to be loved.
“That’s why I always win.”
Past Issue Reference: Moon Knight #25, “Black Spectre”
And that’s Moon Knight.