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