Story: David Pepose
Art: Marcel Ferreira, Jay Leisten
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
What They Say:
Tearing through the City of the Dead on his quest to rescue a young runaway, Moon Knight must grapple with his past when he turns to an unlikely source for aid – LAYLA EL-FOULY, A.K.A. the SCARLET SCARAB! But when Marc Spector is faced with a murderers’ row of dead super villains whom he helped put in the ground, can even the Fist of Khonshu defy the odds long enough to survive? Plus: Who is the JACKAL KNIGHT?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Moon Knight has been a favorite of mine for far too many decades, though I’m a lapsed reader to be sure and the continuity is as fun as it is when it comes to Marvel. The draw of this series that brought me back was to see what David Pepose would do as I’ve enjoyed some of his work at other publishers the last couple of years and he doesn’t disappoint here. It also doesn’t hurt that the incredibly talented Marcel Ferreira is working with Jay Leisten and Rachelle Rosenberg to bring it to life. The art team does a fantastic job throughout in showing the power and action when it comes to Moon Knight but Rosenberg elevates the whole thing once they pass through to the other side as the color design enhances everything in a distinct and perfect way that has me wanting to spend a lot of time outdoors in this place.
The second issue doesn’t quite have the draw of the first and that’s mostly because what we get here is action. I like action and it’s all well and fine, and certainly a draw to many readers, but with the first issue being so much setup and the introduction of the Scarlet Scarab, this one deals with how things are playing out on the other side and Marc basically getting into a lot of fights. The action is solid, notably in the first part, as he tries to handle Ramses and his minions pretty well and Layla gets to show off some of her abilities that are definitely intriguing within this place as she can alter the architecture of the city. The later main fight is one that’s about the numbers and Marc gets beaten down for future story points and to reinforce how Layla has separated enough from him since her death in that she says quite plainly that she can’t save everyone before going off. Admittedly, she has something of a good reason.
What gets interesting in this issue is two-fold. First, the pair do figure out some of what’s going on as they think they find Khalil but it turns out that a lot of kids are being taken and we see how their other selves here are having their hearts cut out, which is allowing some terrible people on this side to use that to avoid being judged for their actions – presumably buying them some balance. It’s interesting and can lead to some interesting ideas. The other is that we get a bit of Layla’s backstory to show how some of what she learned while alive bore out to be true when she died and she was given the option to take this role because of her own perfect balance in existence. That feeds into the other plot point to be sure so you can map the two easily but it does work well. What works less well is bringing in Randall at the end because it’s just like old times again and Randall is just exhausting to deal with.
The book is one that certainly does what you expect from a second installment in that it does move things forward and we do get some answers. It’s a little more action-oriented than I care for – and I mean that even more in that it’s just a rumble kind of thing and not something darker and mysterious as befits Moon Knight – but it’s still pretty solid across the board. I like what we get from Layla and how she is certainly different now from who she was before and the dynamic between her and Marc is certainly loaded with some friction. The root cause of events is intriguing – and I’m hoping the stinger at the end with the reveal isn’t the true mastermind of it all and that it’s bigger than that. I’m curious to see what’s next.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 23rd, 2023