Or – “The Amaze-canny Captain Spiderine…”

Moon Knight is sometimes referred to as a poor man’s Batman, but the truth is much more complex:  He’s the poor man’s Batman with a GIMMICK!  The multiple identities that made him different in the 80’s turned into full-fledged psychoses in the 90’s, and now we’re witness to Moon Knight’s most supreme feat of all…  Channeling the personalities of characters whose books sell better than his!  Beat THAT, Damian Wayne!

Writer:Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, on Moon Knight:  After a strange revival a few years ago during which he apparently punched out the mashed potatoes in a fit of rage, Marc Spector is back to his old tricks.  Having moved to the West Coast, Marc is now the successful producer of “Legends of the Khonshu”, while spending his nights trying to take down the mysterious “Kingpin of Los Angeles.”  (Ten bucks says it’s the Hood.)  Helping him in this endeavor are his new personalities, as cabbie Jake Lockley and millionaire Stephen Grant are joined by Wolverine, Spider-Man and Captain America…

First Sign Of A Bendis Comic: It’s Echo!

Last time around, the LAPD got involved in a battle between Moon Knight, Echo and the underground super-team called the Night Shift (formerly run by the Shroud, consisting mostly of Spider-Woman’s old villains.)  We open this issue with MK and Echo being taken into custody by a group of extremely familiar sounding police officers, all of whom repeatedly refer to Moon Knight as an Avenger, but still feel free to commit casual police brutality.  The voice in his head fight it out, and finally Moon Knight listens to the Spider-Man voice who encourages him to run for it, leaving Echo behind.  This whole sequence feels particularly familiar to me as a reader of Powers, but the art isn’t bad at all, with the whole sequence feeling like something out of Blade Runner.  Of course, since the book is set in contemporary Los Angeles, it’s little bit confusing for me as a reader.  Echo gets beaten up by the cops (because why not?) as Moon Knight’s mental war goes on for pages and pages.  Part of me is really bothered by the multiple personality riff, both from the perspective of “Feels like an obvious gimmick” and also “Kind of offensive, for some reason.”

Second Sign Of A Bendis Comic: The Interrogation Scene.

When Bendis and Maleev worked together on Daredevil, it was fun to read because it felt like we were breaking new ground with the character after years of Frank Miller riffs (and a very underrated Ann Nocenti run.)  Then we had a similar run of Elektra.  Then we had a similar run of Alias.  Now, we’re in a similar run of Moon Knight.  Marc makes a pass at Echo (it goes badly) while Tick-Tock of the Night Shift has equal trouble with a very Aaron Sorkin-esque interrogation scene with a very familiar police officer.  I love Powers, and I loved Alias, but this feels somehow…  warmed over.  I don’t know if it’s my lack of connection with the main character, or the awkwardness of the Avengers-in-my-head plot, but I just couldn’t connect with the entire interrogation sequence, and the last panel confused me greatly as to exactly whom the cop was talking to, or even about, and I’m bugged by the fact that the phrase “It is what it is”, one of the new awful cliche phrases I hate, made it into the issue.

The Verdict: I Kinda Don’t Get It…

Overall, this issue veered wildly between bland and unpleasant for me, with Alex Maleev’s art providing the only consistently enjoyable thread for me.  I wanted to like Moon Knight, and tried to give the battling personalities thing it’s due, but I’m just not feelin’ this one.  Moon Knight comes across as a nearly blank slate, and even his succumbing to passion with Echo felt forced, while the search for L.A.’s Kingpin felt like a leftover Daredevil script, and a little part of my mind just can’t get past the thought that somehow this is trivializing the concept of multiple personalities and/or mental illness.  Add to that the 4 dollar price point, and Moon Knight #5 misses the mark for me, even with some nice artwork, earning a confused and distracted 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Moon Knight has three other heroes in his head.  Is this genius, or cheese sandwich?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. September 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm — Reply

    Has anyone ever asked the question of how he’s able to wear his costume after Labor Day?

    • TaZ
      September 13, 2011 at 6:28 am — Reply

      He’s like the gal on the detergent commercial that says “Nobody can tell me I can’t rock my white jeans after Labor Day!” She will become his next personality.

  2. LemmyCaution
    September 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    The action was good and the art was good. Three stars from me, but Matthew is right… there is no “character” here.

  3. gilberto nieves
    September 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    i gotta say i hate what they’ve done with moon knight, i had high expectactions considering the creative team as i loved their run on daredevil and even the short lived spider woman but i hate the idea of the multiple avenger personas and the art has not impressed me maybe it’s the inker but something’s off. the perfect moon knight is set in the gritty underworld and the sometimes supernatural. i love moonie, that is the only reason i haven’t dropped the book.

  4. TaZ
    September 13, 2011 at 6:38 am — Reply

    Massive failure with this character, once again. It seems that writers try so hard to make Moon Knight “not Batman” that they go way overboard. Instead of making the character a sympathetic one being heroic while dealing with a massive mental illness it seems almost dismissive and satirical about the personality disorder. I gave it a shot but “Feh….”.

  5. ~wyntermute~
    September 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm — Reply

    So Matthew, you’re saying that this issue is what it is? ^_^

  6. Noobian74
    September 15, 2011 at 10:13 am — Reply

    Split personalities for a fighter can work, but it seems kinda…I don’t know…80’s. Remember Typhoid Mary? Legion?

    Regardless, I’ll allow it, but it has to be done without all the typical Bendis-isms.

  7. Alberto
    October 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    I don´t think that this book last long, since everybody is speaking so bad about it.

    I still don´t get why they keep trying to push books with the “Bendis/Maleev” thing, I mean, sure, Daredevil was awesome, but… how old is that run? 10 years? After that, what have they done? Halo, Spider-Woman and Scarlet and none of them was good, neither Moon Knight.

    Maleev is great, really great. I think that from all those books his art is the only good thing. Maybe what Maleev needs is work with somebody else, because with Bendis… I don´t think that Bendis script´s deserves such a beautiful art as Maleev´s one.

  8. January 22, 2012 at 6:21 am — Reply

    That’s interesting. I think I liked this issue better than you did, Matthew, and felt the series went downhill from there. Did you bother to read the following issues, and what did you think of them? Here’s my review of Moon Knight #6-8, if anyone’s interested: http://650centplague.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/review-moon-knight-6-8/

    • January 22, 2012 at 11:13 am — Reply

      I think I liked this issue better than you did, Matthew, and felt the series went downhill from there. Did you bother to read the following issues, and what did you think of them?

      I read them on their way to the quarter bin, and I still feel like the multiple personality thing was played too gimmicky. The hook of Bendis & Lark together again didn’t really pop the way it did on Daredevil…

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