“…In the name of Khonshu, you must fight!”
Moon Knight: City of the Dead #1 by David Pepose, Marcelo Ferreira, Jay Leisten, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit is a brand new Moon Knight mini-series, set concurrently with the current Moon Knight book by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio.
The story follows Marc Spector as he goes to the titular “City of the Dead” – referred to as the “Duat” in Egyptian mythology – to save the soul of a boy who was dead for five minutes thanks to the Sons of the Jackal. While the premise does bear resemblance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe show, down to the introduction of a character who was created for the MCU, don’t let that fool you – this story is still very much rooted in comic Moon Knight’s world, characterization, and history.
Much like MacKay’s book, City of the Dead is also very respectful and referential to Moon Knight’s history – both to the run that’s going on and to the character’s publication – while also being reader-friendly. You don’t need to know anything other than basic knowledge of the character to jump in. You’ll easily be introduced to his status quo, Hunter’s Moon, as well as everything else, but it’s obviously better if you’ve read at least issue #25 of the main Moon Knight book, as it sets up some of the premise of this issue.
“Sometimes it’s not about if you can dodge the hit… it’s about whether you deserve it.”
Art-wise, it’s a departure from Cappuccio’s art in the main book, but not in a bad way. Ferreria and Leisten go from the more exaggerated style to one that’s more regularly-proportioned. However, it’s still impactful. Characters aren’t bound to panels, sometimes breaking free to emphasize an action. Splash pages have the right amount of energy to really pop, the panelling follows the line of motion to keep the kineiticism going, and the expressions are always on point, even letting you see what face Moon Knight is making under the mask without ever showing irises, a nose, or a mouth. Rosenberg – who is also the colourist on the main book, helps really set two books apart. While the main title has a lot of dark backgrounds to contrast with the light, here the backgrounds are somewhat lighter to help accentuate the art style, but Moon Knight himself is coloured the same way to always stand out – a very bright “glowy” white which always steals your attention on the page.
The introduction of Layla, the Scarlet Scarab, is also pretty interesting so far, but I do wish we got more of how that played out instead of a simple narration box that speeds things through due to page real estate. That being said, the issue is well paced and tightly plotted, with lots of narration from Marc to keep the story moving. There is some exposition, and while some of it felt off – as in it felt like they were talking to the reader instead of it being a natural conversation between two characters – most of it does work.
This was a fun read in what might shape up to be a fun miniseries. If you’ve been reading Moon Knight, check this out, and if not and you wanted a book to jump in with, you should definitely pick this up along with Moon Knight #25.