In recent years, Moon Knight has been a recurring character at Marvel Comics, with different iterations of the character being frequent but short-lived. The most recent run of the series, by Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows, ended last October and the title has yet to be relaunched. For the next 12 weeks, in this summer plagued by a Moon Knight drought, I’ll be bringing you my thoughts on Bendis and Maleev’s run as part of our Summer Comics Binge.
“Moon Knight” #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by Alex Maleev
Colored by Matthew Wilson
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Moon Knight’s startling true nature as a one-man Avengers team stands revealed! Now, in the guises and identities of Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America, Marc Spector wages war against organized crime in Los Angeles. But who is the Kingpin of crime in L.A. and how does Moon Knight plan to bring him down?
When I finished “Moon Knight” #1 last week, I was intrigued as to where the series would go. By the end of #2, I was left desperate for more. This issue has a much quicker pace and this precedent is set with the opening double splash page that throws us straight into the action with Moon Knight and the imaginary trio of Avengers scoping out a strip club. This panel gives us another look at the entirety of Maleev’s depiction of the title character and it does not disappoint. Perched on the rooftop, Moon Knight looks menacing with his pointed white eyes peering out from beneath his hood. There’s a tranquillity to the figure too, encouraged by his cape billowing in the wind, mirroring the smoke in the background. The four heroes debate which approach should be taken in order to get the information they want, with Wolverine suggesting a far more aggressive tactic, while Captain America wants one of them to enter undercover instead. Spider-Man volunteers to go, arguing that the people inside wouldn’t expect him to appear. With the decision made, we head inside.
Here, there’s a brief change of pace, with Bendis introducing us to Sheoke Sanada, or Snapdragon, who is rallying her girls to focus them on the information that they may come into contact to. This introduction is the last significant passage of dialogue and establishes Snapdragon as a character not to be messed with. She’s driven and ambitious with the skill set and intelligence to back it up. Her motivation, at this point, seems to be to climb the ladder of the organisation until she reaches the top, and if I have to be critical, you could argue that’s a little bit generic, but with her matching Moon Knight in a fight, it’s certainly not boring. The promise of her return alongside a team of villains is also an exciting one.
When Snapdragon’s speech is interrupted by Spider-Man, it’s quite a surprise. Sure, I expected him to interrupt her, but I didn’t expect someone dressed as Spider-Man to appear. I presumed Spider-Man would be a purely internal image for Moon Knight. The key word though, is that they are only dressed as Spider-Man. This is not the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, this is Moon Knight and rather than having webs alone to fire, he has metal rods which hit their targets with a “spok.” The decision to ensure that Moon Knight’s personalities have a physical manifestation is not one that I expected but one that I really enjoyed and already provided one great scene: we get to see Moon Knight, dressed as Spider-Man, with Wolverine’s claws. I mean, what’s not to like about that?
Bendis also introduces us to another important female figure in Maya Lopez, better known as Echo. After being limited to being a bystander throughout the fight scene, she suddenly intervenes in order to save Moon Knight, blowing her cover as one of Snapdragon’s girls in the process. There’s a subtle connection to Moon Knight suggested in Echo’s appearance with her being dressed in bright white, like the titular character, which draws our attention to her, giving her an anticipatory nature. We expect her to have an impact at some point, but we’re not sure when and this only adds to the tension in the fight sequence. This is one of the excellent uses of color within the book by Matthew Wilson who fills the club and its surrounding with pulsing green, blue and pinkish tones that not only make the pages stand out but give the club an electrical feel.Continued below
The issue rounds off with the introduction of another Mystery character, whom, until we get a name for him, I shall call Mystery Monocle, to go along with the Mystery Power (Clearly, this series is not going to be short on any mysteries). Revisiting last week’s issue, I don’t think that Mystery Monocle is Mystery Power, Monocle seems an entirely different character running another criminal organisation in L.A., but he seems to have been in contact with Moon Knight, having recently had “words” with him. What were these “words” about? Does Marc remember having these “words”? Was it even Marc? Well, what do you know, it’s another MYSTERY. I’m sure there will be more.
Overall, “Moon Knight” #2 is an energised second entry in the series, which introduces compelling new characters, gives us a Moon-Knight/Spider-Man/Wolverine mash-up and a whole lot more mystery.