As a minor member of Marvel’s “street level” crimefighting fraternity, Moon Knight spent most of his career viewed as a Batman rip-off with tonal discrepancies in his various incarnations, as well as some palpable identity issues.
It probably doesn’t help that the character of Moon Knight has often been written as possessing multiple personality disorder.
The point is, Moon Knight has never really been a major player in the Marvel universe.
Sadly, team-ups involving Moon Knight having his book “invaded” by the aforementioned A-listers, have been kind of the norm in the world of Moon Knight, a plot device that, in my opinion; basically means that Marvel has never had enough confidence in the character to allow him to succeed on his own.
That being said, Moon Knight has not been without his moments, particularly within the past decade.
About 5-6 years ago, author Charlie Huston and artist David Finch managed to breath new life into the Moon Knight character by boosting the R-rated content of his story arcs, and playing on the character’s innumerable inner conflicts by having him struggle with his subconscious in a fashion aping the brilliance of John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London.
It represented a major high-point for the character, (or low, if you’re going by the actual content of the storyline) and one that would serve as my formal jumping on point to the Moon Knight bandwagon.
Following Huston’s departure though, Moon Knight would once again fade into relative obscurity, sitting out of most of the major event comics for several years to come; and playing host to storylines that were good, but nowhere near the level of quality that Huston established with his first few stories.
Once the Moon Knight series of the early 2000′s came to a close though, with the “death” of one of Moon Knight’s multiple personalities; things picked up again for another high.
Towards the close of the Dark Reign era of Marvel comics, Moon Knight was thrown back onto the shelves with a brand new, more PG-13 image, and a new series entitled Vengeance of the Moon Knight.
Said “Vengeance” referred to Moon Knight supposedly seeking to avenge his previous “death” as ordered by Norman Osborn.
Being as Norman Osborn was and always will be a top-tier supervillain, with God knows how many nemeses; the chances of Moon Knight successfully taking him out were approximately 3,720 to 1, however that didn’t stop me from reading the story and loving it.
Featuring a host of some of the better villains in Moon Knight’s rogues gallery, including a newly resurrected Bushman AKA Moonies’ arch nemesis; the story was exceptionally well written by Gregg Hurwitz, as well as brilliantly illustrated by the uber talented Jerome Opena.
As seems to be the norm for the ‘ole white knight though, the second arc in the series could barely hold a candle to the first.
Hurwitz remained on board as writer, but Opena jumped ship; and with good reason.
The initial outburst of energy brought on by the new direction of the series faded away, replaced by tedium and, you guessed it; guest appearances from characters like Deadpool.
While I like Deadpool as much as the next 20-something year old comic fan, (provided he’s got a good writer backing him) his appearance in other character’s books is often a good indication of them having lost their way.
While that series petered out and was cancelled, most likely for the best; Marvel would end up giving Moonie another chance in the form of a spot on the newly formed Secret Avengers team as headed by Steve Rogers AKA Captain America.
From what I’ve heard, that series has been going strong since it’s inception last year, however both Moon Knight and Nova (another hero that doesn’t get enough spotlight) have reportedly served as little more than window dressing.
While Moon Knight has served time on Avengers teams before, this marks the first official team-up I can recall the character engaging in within my lifetime.
It’s bold moves like this that remind me Marvel has yet to lose faith in their crazy white knight.
Given that Mike Deodato is illustrating Secret Avengers, you can bet I’ll be picking it up as soon as it comes out in trade form.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Moon Knight also played minor role in the street level superhero crossover, Shadowland; however I’ve heard nothing but bad about that series, so I’m just going to plead ignorance and gloss over that particularly nasty bit of history…
Now that the history lesson’s over, we can finally get to the new business of Moon Knight.
Just a few days ago, it was announced that famed comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, as well as the terrific penciller Alex Maleev; would be taking the reigns on a new Moon Knight series beginning this May.
While his writing style can often be immature, and his stories don’t always come together all that cleanly, few can argue that Bendis is one of the best dialogue writers in the business, with an ability to capture character’s voices that is nigh unmatched.
Maleev is not slouch either, with a sharp, moody, and wholly dynamic art style, as well as a host of credits on various Avengers comics and an extended run on Bendis’ critically acclaimed Daredevil series.
From what I’ve read, the premise that the team is working from, is one that once again plays off of Moon Knight’s multiple personality disorder.
Taking into account Moon Knight’s current status as a Secret Avengers member, Bendis plans on having the character’s personality issues manifest in the form of taking on the behavior and personalities of his teammates.
In essence, the idea is that Moon Knight’s inherent insanity and unpredictably will be turned up to 11 in this series, with him assuming the characteristics of heroes like Wolverine, Spider-Man, and presumably Captain America based on the promotional image at the beginning of this article.
While this sounds a little tongue-in-cheek for my tastes, I can’t deny that the idea of a man running around thinking he’s indestructible, or thinking that he comes from the mythical kingdom of Asgard; will probably make for a fun read.
Assigning Bendis to write a Moon Knight series will grant the character unparalleled exposure and presence among casual comic book fans, a luxury that few D-list heroes ever get to experience, regardless of the breadth of publishing history they may possess.
Given the character’s questionable track record thus far, I don’t doubt that the series could indeed flop; however with such big names attached, I’m nothing if not hopeful for it’s success.