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” #7
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilled by Alex Maleev
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Will the Avengers be the help that Moon Knight needs to finally unravel the mystery of the kingpin of Los Angeles?!
With last week’s issue of “Moon Knight” refocusing the series onto the Mystery Power and the Ultron head, I half expected this issue to be another issue focus on a side story, this week’s issue doesn’t let that focus slip. Instead, this issue gives us the first showdown between Moon Knight and the Mystery Power.
Before I continue any further, I should note that finally we get a full reveal of the Mystery Power’s identity, with him being none other than Count Nefaria. I personally couldn’t recall having come across him in any comics I’d read, until quick search informed me that he was in last year’s “Spider-Geddon.” I’d obviously forgotten that. Oops. Anyway, he’s been involved with the likes of Thor in the past and believes he shouldn’t have to be dealing with heroes such as Moon Knight, but, clearly, he’s not the big deal that he thinks he is.
Right, where was I? Oh yeah, the first encounter between Moon Knight and Count Nefaria. This delivers on so many levels. If, as an audience, we were meant to be questioning Moon Knight’s capabilities to handle the situation as the real Captain America did last week, this initial encounter shows that he just might be able to. The plan for the encounter is still the same as last week, which was to bait the kingpin out with the Ultron head, but Marc’s thought up more than just that. He’s got a fake Ultron head that’s rigged with a power-dampening chemical to weaken him before fighting him. There’s still more to that though, with Echo filming the encounter to show that Nefaria is trying to barter for the illegal wares. Of course, if this plan worked perfectly, the series would have to find a new villain, but instead, Moon Knight gets to lay a few punches on Nefaria before the chemical agent that has weakened him wears off. That doesn’t matter though. It’s incredibly satisfying to see Moon Knight dropping down on a completely unaware Nefaria and Maleev’s splash page perfectly presents the moment. Furthermore, only a few pages earlier, Nefaria’s identity and full outfit is fully revealed on its own splash page and this takedown by Moon Knight juxtaposes with that one; the hovering, god-like figure that the Count is presented as on his reveal and brought back to the reality that he is just a beatable villain that has a long list of heroes who have beaten him.
The showdown between Moon Knight and Nefaria is also juxtaposed through the coloring of the panels. The coloring in this week’s issue is done by newcomer to the book, Matt Hollingsworth, who is the colorist for the remainder of Bendis and Maleev’s run. While Nefaria tries to intimidate Buck, the panels are swamped with the red-orange bolts of energy that emanate from the Count, but these are extinguished by the blue chemical agent that explodes from the fake Ultron head and the panels that follow are doused with a blue tint. Of course, these elements are a part of the story and must be distinguishable to understand what’s going on, but they show a shift in the power dynamic between Moon Knight and Nefaria too. This makes the final page of the issue even more ominous, with the imaginary Wolverine stating Marc has just started a war that he cannot win whilst the panel shows Moon Knight walking away from the fight with Nefaria’s bolts of energy still lingering in the air behind him.Continued below
This issue also leaves some intriguing developments for Snapdragon. Prior to the clash with Moon Knight, she suggests to Nefaria that he should change his plan of action, which he interprets as giving up. After he told her to aim for a higher class of employee to catch Moon Knight last week, there’s definitely some tension building between the pair and, now that Snapdragon has been captured, I’m eager to see how Nefaria reacts. Snapdragon is an important individual in his organisation, but given that he didn’t rescue her when his powers returned, I wonder if he’s deemed her expendable. It’s more likely he just wanted to save himself, but we will have to see next week.
Finally, despite Echo being somewhat side-lined this week and being limited to recording the encounter, by the end of the issue, she seems to have seen Moon Knight talking to the Avengers in his head. This brings the issue full circle, after Marc tells Buck about the voices in his head at the opening of the issue. Echo has frequently asked Marc about what is wrong with him and he’s ignored her and, while Buck was quick to accept Marc’s vague explanation about the voices, Echo is going to want the full answer to understand who she’s working with.
Overall – The first showdown between the Mystery Power and Moon Knight, as well as the reveal of the Mystery Power’s identity, make this a pivotal issue of the series.