The Unread Pile – Moon Knight

I first encountered Moon Knight during the very earliest days of my comic collecting. At the time one of my favorite comics was West Coast Avengers, and while I read both the regular Avengers title, something about the West Coast lineup spoke to me. About 3 or 4 issues into my collecting, Moon Knight made an appearance in the comic and shortly thereafter joined the team.

Weirdly, I didn’t immediately think of him as a Batman rip-off, even if in some instances that’s what writers lean into. Instead I saw someone who wasn’t entirely in control of his own senses. Someone who spoke directly to his patron god: Khonshu. And someone who didn’t shy away from the difficult choices.

Ever since, I’ve collected pretty much any Moon Knight series and they run the gambit of good, bad, and everything between. At least that was the case before I reached the latest run.

***

Moon Knight (Volume 9 – 2021)

Writer – Jed Mackay

Penciller – Alessandro Cappuccio

***

This run of Moon Knight feels like it was written by someone who has read every issue of comics which Moon Knight appeared. It feels like the creators even read those same West Coast Avengers issues which left such a strong mark on my own interests and comic collection. It honors those things which have come before, but then moves things forward in a very organic way.

Moon Knight is a Priest of Khonshu, which means the night is his to patrol. Those who move about at night are under his protection. So what happens when the things which go bump in the night (Vampires) begin to make a move on New York City? What happens to those people who are merely innocents, that now have found themselves transformed?

Marc Spector is not the first man to take them mantle of Moon Knight. When one has died their last death, another one is chosen by the Moon God. And yet, while Marc is the Fist of Khonshu, a god may have two Fists. If this run only introduced Hunter’s Moon into the lore, that would have made this run worth it. Someone who understands the connection with the gods, who doesn’t understand all of Marc’s tactics, but calls him brother all the same.

He has multiple personalities… and the comic embraces this idea. For much of the 90s comic Marc Spector: Moon Knight, the idea that there were other voices in his head was downplayed. Not here… and it is an asset for the character and his story.

Tigra shows up. And is given a large role in the overall storyline. It always bothered me that after they went their seperate ways in West Coast Avengers, I don’t know that they really crossed paths again (at least in any substantial way). And I have to think it is that whole – he’s supposed to be grim and gritty and Tigra is a Superhero. Here, in this run, those things can coexist.

He fights a haunted house… and then uses it as his base of operations. I’ve read somewhere that when a new writer comes onto a title, they should always leave the toy chest fuller than when they arrived. This is it in spades.

Zodiac – Moon Knight has had plenty of villains over the years. The Midnight Man. Black Specter. Randall Spector. Werewolf by Night. Bushman. And aside from the Bushman, I don’t think he’s really had that archnemesis until now. Zodiac is everything Moon Knight needs when it comes to a villain. Someone who can challenge him to become even more brutal. Someone who is thinking steps ahead of him. I never read the miniseries which first introduced Zodiac, but this comic feels like a perfect fit.

8 Ball – Nothing like taking a Z-List character and turning him into a sympathetic character. Who would have ever thought?

The echoes of the past… older villains, characters who might not have been used in decades pop up throughout the run. It never feels forced. More than anything, it makes this little corner of the Marvel Universe feel that much more alive. The connections between everything only help this process.

From the very first issue until the last in this run, it hit every beat, hit every high mark, and immediately took its place at the top of my Moon Knight reads.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

About John McGuire

Writer of comics and novels. In 2006 his first short story "The God That Failed" was published by Terminus Media in their debut comic Evolution Book 1. Since that time he has had stories published in Terminus Media's Evolution Book 2 and Evolution Special, Kenzer and Company's The Knights of the Dinner Table, and Four J Publishing's The Burner #3. Currently he is eagerly awaiting the digital publishing of his first creator-owned comic The Gilded Age #1 to be published online as well as his first novel The Dark That Follows later this year.
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