Marc Spector: Moon Knight #1-3 (1989)

If you thought Moon Knight’s character was schizophrenic, then wait until you hear about his publication history. He started as a monster hunter–a side character in Werewolf By Night without an origin–until his creator put him in a pulpy black-and-white magazine created solely to profit off of a televised version of Marvel’s Hulk. The back-up features became more popular than the lead stories, so Marvel allowed Doug Moench to reimagine Moon Knight in his own title as a gritty, slightly off-balance guy who believed he was resurrected by an Egyptian God that for some reason wanted him to fight crime in New York City. But then Moench and his muse, Bill Sienkiewicz, left the character behind and he descended into the depths of silliness in the pages of West Coast Avengers.

And that’s where we left him: When we last saw Moon Knight, he was in West Coast Avengers and Koshnu was reminding him that he’s a street-level hero and doesn’t need all that mystical stuff that made him suck in the pages of West Coast Avengers.  OK, that’s not exactly how Koshnu put it, but I’m pretty sure that’s what Marvel was going for—getting MK back to where he was when Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz were running him.

So he’s put with Chuck “G.I. Joe” Dixon on scripts—Dixon is an actual war veteran and extremely knowledgeable about weapons and martial arts—in the hopes that we’ll get back to the Moon Knight people actually enjoyed.

Right from the splash page it’s clear that this is a wholesale character reboot.

It’s a simple street scene, with Moon Knight saving a “normal,” beating up some thugs, making a quip, and then the guy he saved not knowing his name.

…And calling someone “pal” and complaining about New York.

So, this isn’t so much “new” as it is “cliched.”

Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz were never cliche.

His pilot Frenchie and girlfriend Marlene are reintroduced, as is his moon copter.

And he tells the jokes about how hard his job is.

And he’s an average joe who plays handball!

I know I’m being hard on this book, but…Moon Knight is a character with so much potential, and it will take another 10+ years for Marvel to figure out how to get GREAT stories about him. This is a nice touch though…

Marc Spector says good night to the Moon God, again indicating that this will be a true street hero and not someone imbued with mystical power (and also not, as Moench wrote him, someone who delusionally–or ambiguously–believes himself to be imbued with power) from an ancient God.

The Moon God’s presence hangs over him, though.

OK. Maybe Dixon’s run will be good after all?

As for villainy, for his first story Dixon brings back Bushman—the African soldier who was indirectly responsible for Moon Knight’s origin.

He attacks Marc Spector’s home and kidnaps Marlene, taking her to his country’s embassy.

There’s an inexplicable cameo by Spider-Man, who witnesses Moon Knight storming the embassy to get her back.  

I say inexplicable because (a) he says he’s never seen Moon Knight before, despite the fact that the guy was in the Avengers for several months (Peter Parker makes his living shooting pix of superheroes—you’d think he’d know who was one of Earth’s mightiest heroes) and despite the fact that Moon Knight operated out of New York City for several years before that; and (b) Spider-Man doesn’t get involved when he sees a caped weirdo attacking a foreign embassy.  Hm.

From there, Dixon takes the action to Bushman’s homeland of Burunda.

And Moon Knight is a one-man army, much like Punisher (who Dixon also writes for).

To rescue her, we see he learned something from watching Hawkeye during his stint with the WCA team.

And in the end, Moon Knight rescues his girl and escapes Burunda.

This is much better for Moon Knight than West Coast Avengers ever was, but objectively as a comic, this is just an average story–slightly better due to the art and my bias in favor of this character.

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