Moon Knight is one of those heroes that I have always been aware of, but never really got into. The majority of my exposure to him was back in the West Coast Avengers days and a few issues around the Atlantis Attacks event (does that show my age?) and my opinion of him then was so-so. He was another vigilante gadget guy, and he filled a small space in the series. I just wasnâ€™t a fan. So I was rather surprised when I saw a new book titled Vengeance of the Moon Knight on my LCS shelves last week. I figured, what the heck, Iâ€™ll grab the slick Alex Ross covered one and at least get a good cover image out of it. Luckily I got that and a little more.
Here is a quick disclaimer: I have not followed any of the Marvel Big events since revelation of Captain Mar-Vell as a Skrull. I know essentially what is going on, but I donâ€™t tend to read the titles. So it took me just a little bit to get updated. Luckily, there is this really swift freebie book at the LCS called Moon Knight Saga and it details the characters history all the way to Norman Osbourn declaring him dead, and Jake Lockley (now the dominate personality of the Moon Knight alias) has gone into hiding down in Mexico. Also, the first page gives a really nice synopsis of what has gone on before. So, what we start with is a character who still has some mental issues, and was recently beaten to the point of leaving the country to recoop. The character has been torn down, and now it is time to see what can be built back up.
The story starts in Times Square and we get a voice over by Moon Knight as we also see a series of panels setting up what proves to be a bank heist. The voice over declares that he is tired of hiding. To quote Moon Knight, â€œScrew the D-List. Screw the B-List. Like the song says, Iâ€™ll make a brand new start.â€ We get the pleasure of seeing Moon Knight make that new start.
His first order of business is to tear up a few blocks of Broadway streets (donâ€™t New York drivers have enough issues) making a REALLY dramatic entrance in a giant metal ball that opens to reveal Moon Knight on his Moon-cycle, ready to take out the bank robbers. The crooks, who are all wearing Obama masks, are taken out by means of crescent shaped fletches and a hit top the head by the Mooncycle. It all looks very violent and deadly, but looks can be deceiving. As Moon Knight surfs on a wrecked van as it slides down the street full of crooks (one of the best panels in the book IMHO) his old flame Marlene in watching while enjoying a lunch with a friend. Her slight exclamation of â€œOh my.â€ really states how much this lady has seen while she has been acquainted with the Moon Knight. As the van slides to a halt, Moon Knight finds himself surround by NYPD. Raising his hands above his head, he grabs onto a passing rope ladder and is carried away into the sky. There is a funny little reaction shot from Marvelâ€™s First Family of Heroes as he floats by their skyscraper window, and he even finds the time â€œtake a biteâ€ out of a giant apple sign. To the cops surprise, all the perps where subdued without injuries and are all being lead away. He managed to defuse the situation without any bloodshed.
During this whole time, we got a good look into the thoughts that run through Moon Knights head. Yes, much of it is about how he is back and he is going to be taking care of business, but there are no real signs of any mental disorder, just a man with a job to do.
Then we switch to Jake Lockely as he drives his cab back to his base. There is a little action figure sized Khonshu standing on the passenger seat, berating him. He reminds Lockley that the people all hate him and he would never be the good guy he wants to be. Luckily, Lockely defeats this pint-sized nay-sayer by rolling down the window and knocking him out with a flick of his mighty finger!
Again, I am not really familiar with how the recently cancelled Moon Knight series handled his secret identity, but it is pretty obvious that this Jake Lockely has decided to take full use of the riches that previous incarnations of the Moon Knight had access to, right down to the snooty butler. As he stands in the shower, seemingly contemplating his course of action, Lockley listens to the newscasts as they try and make sense of Moon Knightâ€™s reappearance. Is it the same guy? Is he wearing white to seek redemption? The only thing for certain, the talking heads declare, is that the Moon Knight is a renegade and a menace. This seems to please Lockley.
Flash to a dark alley where there are two men about to assault a woman. As Moon Knight takes them out, he thinks back to his nemesis (â€œEvery Hero ha a Nemesisâ€, he thinks) the Bushman and how his killing him nearly drove him insane. Really, Moonie, nearly? As he takes out the last thug, the action figure Khonshu appears ina series of webs above the scene. He taunts Moon Knight, tells him that he can FEEL him wanting to kill the scum.Â He taunts him to the point that you almost wonder if Moon Knight will kill the guy, and then he stops the short. He tells the Action Figure Knonshu that he does not enjoy hurting people, not anymore. As he goes off to a roof top t see the rising sun, he wonders about the past and if you can really cast off your sins and change. Suddenly, a voice from above asks, â€œJust who do you think you areâ€¦?â€ turn the page â€œâ€¦a Super Hero?â€ It is Sentry, and it is not clear what his intentions are at this time. But the cover preview on the facing page kinda gives a hint. Let me give a hint, I donâ€™t think they are going to share BBQ recipes.
And thatâ€™s it for the first issue, 24 pages of action packed story and art. The rest of the book, the next 24 pages of story, is a reprint of the first issue of Moench/Sienkiewicz Moon Knight series from 1980. A good little read, if a little dated now. But, nearly 50 pages of story is packed into this $3.99 title, a bargin in this day and age. While I would have like to have seen a little more of the new story, the reprint was a nice little nod to the past. Also, I love Sienkiewicz art, so that was a plus.
Speaking of creative teams, this was a nice one. Gregg Hurwitz, acclaimed crime novelist with several Marvel Max series under his belt, sets a nice tone and a solid beginning. We are given enough information to satisfy your immediate needs, but enough is hidden to make you want to check out future issues and see what will happen. Jerome Opena (Punisher, Fear Agent, Lone) does a bang up job as artist, and his work has a nice gritty feel while keeping the super hero edge.
So, how did I feel about the first issue of Vengeance of the Moon Knight? Surprisingly good; I picked it up to get a nice cover and was surprised to get a solid beginning to an intriguing story. Good art, good writing, and just enough suspense to make me curious about the future. The whole multiple personality thing still throws me a little, but I can overlook that, the story grabbed me that much. If you have not had the time to pick this title up, grab a copy, itâ€™ll surprise you. Iâ€™m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.