Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Longbox Junk - Marc Spector: Moon Knight - The Last Word

 Welcome to Longbox Junk, where I write comic reviews even though nobody asked me to!

So for the last few months I've been on a bit of a journey. . .a deep dive into the 60 issue Marc Spector: Moon Knight series.  In years past, I've come across about a dozen random issues of this series out Longbox Junkin' through the bargain bins, but recently I was able to fill the gaps and complete the run thanks to another comic shop going out of business and selling all their back issues for a single lousy buck.

Yeah. . .it was a serious case of Longbox Junk overload THAT day.  I spent about $800 on comics.  I think I MIGHT have a problem.  No, not that sort of problem. . .a storage problem!  BUT I DIGRESS!


I've spent the last few months reading and reviewing every single issue of Marc Spector: Moon Knight.  I'd go so far as to say that I have spent the most word space on the series than ANYBODY else except the creators themselves.  And in realizing that, I began to ponder. . .WHY is there so little information on Moon Knight's longest running series to date?  Why hasn't it been collected?  Why so few reviews?  What the heck is going on with this series that has caused it to become something that everyone KNOWS exists, but yet nobody wants to talk about it?

Wait.  I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  

If you want to read the reviews before coming back here for my final thoughts on this strange comic book journey, then click the links below.  I'll wait.  It'll be a while, though.  It's okay.  Go ahead.







You're back. Sheesh. . . Now THAT'S a hefty stack of Longbox Junk, right?

So those are the individual reviews of each issue. . .once again, the most that ANYBODY has ever written about this oddly-ignored Moon Knight series.  Let's get into some final thoughts on the series as a whole, shall we? We shall!



If I had to boil all sixty issues of Marc Spector: Moon Knight down to one single word, that word would be "Inconsistent".  This series was all over the place.  There was only ONE thing about this Moon Knight run that stayed the same from issue one to issue done. . .and it was that the multiple personalities found in other Moon Knight stories were absent, with Marc Spector being the ONLY "secret identity" of Moon Knight.  Other than that and the names of the characters. . .everything else was fair game.  And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.

All three of the main writers on this series tried (and failed) to put their own mark on the Moon Knight "canon".  Terry Kavanagh (who wrote the whole back half of the series) was the worst. . .his issues were characterized by a pretty obvious obsession with permanently changing Moon Knight.  But the other two main writers, Chuck Dixon and J.M. DeMatteis, did their best to put their stamp on the character as well.  Let's get into each of these writers a little bit. . .

The series started off in the hands of Chuck Dixon. He gave us a simple, stripped-down version of Moon Knight.  A two-fisted urban crimefighter with his loyal friend Frenchie at his side and his lover Marlene there to support him.  It seemed a little basic, compared to previous Moon Knight runs, and truthfully, I could easily see where Moon Knight got his "Marvel's Batman" label from.  

What little information on this series there is seems to indicate that Moon Knight fans generally consider Chuck Dixon to be the worst Moon Knight writer.  I disagree.  I found Dixon's time on this series to be simple, but fun.  There was never anything GREAT about Dixon's stories, but I found his end of the series to be the most engaging and consistent of the whole thing.

BUT. . .

Dixon tried to make his mark on the permanent Moon Knight narrative by giving him an orphan teenage crimefighting sidekick called Midnight.  In other words, grinding hard on the Batman comparisons by giving Moon Knight his very own Robin.  It was pretty weak, but I have to give Dixon credit for listening to the fans and stepping back from the ill-advised idea fairly quickly.  And I have to admit that Midnight DID make a pretty good enemy for Moon Knight in later series.  

Other than the sidekick thing (and compared to what came later, even that wasn't TOO bad), I'd say that Chuck Dixon's issues of this series are the most enjoyable as a whole.  Not great. . .not bad. . .just a nice, steady, pretty good.  Basically "Marvel Batman" stories.

But then Chuck Dixon left, and for a short time, J.M. DeMatteis came on board.

What little reader opinion I could find on this series seems to agree that DeMatteis was the best writer on this run.  I honestly can't see why.  The only reason I can come up with as a possibility is that DeMatteis' handful of seven issues were characterized by an attempt to directly follow up the fan-favorite original Moon Knight run by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. 

Unfortunately, although DeMatteis is generally a fine writer, he was NOT at his best on this series. Instead of Moench's superhero-noir, we got a muddled mess of psychodrama and mischaracterization that was heavy on style but extremely light on actual story.  

DeMatteis tried to make HIS permanent mark on Moon Knight's narrative by adding a new enemy to his rather slim list of recurring foes.  He took a character from the original series (Stained Glass Scarlet) and completely changed her from a pretty basic street vigilante with a vendetta against organized crime into some sort of mutant with unexplained mental and fire powers. Stained Glass Scarlet played a big part in the next Moon Knight story, and DeMatteis' changes were completely ignored, and for good reason, in my humble opinion.

J.M. DeMatteis didn't last for long, but once again, for some reason, he's the writer that is generally remembered the best on this series.  Personally, I see his issues as pretty much standing alone, like a strange and unconnected mini-series thrown into the middle of an ongoing title. . .sort of like "Old Man Logan" sitting in the middle of the ongoing Wolverine title of the time, or "Batman: Year One" sitting in the middle of the ongoing Batman title instead of being published separately, for some unknown reason.


Terry Kavanagh took over.  From his first issue (#35), his time on Marc Spector: Moon Knight was characterized by constant and obvious attempts to permanently change the Moon Knight "canon".  And when I say constant, I mean he was STILL trying to make changes in the final issue of the series! 

Every story arc Kavanagh wrote was wrapped around some sort of attempted permanent change.  The stories themselves didn't seem to matter as much as these changes he kept trying to make.  I would go so far as to say (just from memory without going back and reading them all) that there might not have been one single issue from Kavanagh that wasn't structured to support some sort of permanent change to the character.

From Marc Spector's brother coming back from the dead, to Moon Knight's new armor and base of operations, to Frenchie being a secret Templar superweapon, to Marc Spector being a half demon hybrid with life draining powers, to the goddamn MOON-MOBILE! And on and on and on.  Kavanagh's issues were just a constant and ongoing litany of changes to Moon Knight.

Unfortunately for Kavanagh (and fortunately for Moon Knight fans) none of his changes stuck past the last issue of this series with the exception of Moon Knight being dead, which was quickly remedied in the next Moon Knight story.  

In my extremely humble opinion, it was this constant state of throwing changes at the readers that sort of erased this series from the Moon Knight narrative. . .which is sort of ironic in that the only permanent change Kavanagh achieved was to pretty much delete a sixty issue run of comics from the history of a character. 

Kavanagh did such a good job at defeating his own purpose that even the official Moon Knight Wikipedia article devotes a mere FIVE sentences to the sixty issues of this run, and one of those sentences is a reference to artist Stephen Platt leaving Marvel to work for Image!

Knowing the hard work Kavanagh put into deleting this whole series from the convoluted history of Moon Knight, it came as no surprise to me when I learned that he was one of the minds behind Marvel's infamous "Clone Saga" Spider-Man storyline.  I'm not even a Spider-Man fan and I know just by comic fan osmosis that the Clone Saga is regarded as one of the worst stories in Marvel history.  But you know what? At least THAT story is remembered, while Marc Spector: Moon Knight seems to have been unconsciously wiped from comic fandom memory almost completely!  

*stands and slowly claps*  Well done, sir.  Well done! 


Taken as a whole, this Moon Knight series is extremely inconsistent and characterized by constant attempts to permanently change the character.  None of the individual issues or storylines ever manage to raise above the level of "Pretty Good", and the final five issues are some of the absolute worst comics I've forced myself to read front to back in quite a while.

I can recommend the first 24 issues (those written by Chuck Dixon) as simple superhero fun, but I wouldn't suggest punishing yourself with anything past that.  

This series has never been collected, so if you REALLY want to experience the strange sensation of slowly realizing WHY this series has never been collected, you'll have to hunt down the individual issues. . .with some of the later (and ironically the worst) issues being a bit pricey.  Fortunately, most of them can be found in their rightful place in the bargain bin.

Up Next. . .

MORE Moon Knight!

Just kidding.  I'm ready to move along.  Maybe some one shots?

Sure, why not.  Tasty little bites of comic book fun that challenge creative teams to give readers a full story in one and only one issue. . .I love one shots!  Let's do some one shots!

Be there or be square.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Longbox Junk - Marc Spector: Moon Knight, Part 6 (Issues 51 - 60)

 Welcome to Longbox Junk, the place to find comic reviews you've never asked for!

Well, here we finally are! The last batch of ten issues from my epic dive into Marc Spector: Moon Knight.  It's been fun immersing myself in the world of the Silver Avenger, but at the same time, I'll be glad to move along to something different after spending a couple of months with Moon Knight.

To read where I've been so far, you can click HERE (Part 1)  HERE (Part 2) HERE (Part 3)  HERE (Part 4)  and HERE (Part 5)  With each part a ten issue review. Here's a short recap of my thoughts so far. . .

We started things off with Chuck Dixon giving us a stripped down version of Moon Knight as a classic two-fisted adventurer without any of the supernatural or mental health trappings usually associated with Moon Knight.  It was pretty basic, but fun.

Then J.M. DeMatteis took over for a short while, giving us a Moon Knight that tried and failed to emulate the psychodrama of the character's previous run.  Ultimately, it was a confusing mess.

After DeMatteis departed, Terry Kavanagh jumped into the writer's seat and has been with us ever since.  His turn at the wheel has been characterized by constant attempts to put a permanent mark on the Moon Knight mythos.  Unfortunately for Kavanagh, none of his efforts have stood the test of time.

I've been told by my comic-lovin' daughter that my last batch of reviews were a little overboard on length, so I'm going to try and boil things down a bit more for this final sprint toward the finish.  It's just that sometimes when I consider that I'm literally the ONLY person who's ever done an in-depth look at a comic, I get invested in even the most average of Longbox Junk and turn into a kinda lousy editor.


Enough introduction.  Let's see what this final handful of Marc Spector: Moon Knight comics has in store for us.  Ready? Let's do it!

MARVEL (1989 - 1994)



SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Dave Hoover
INKS: Keith Williams
COVER: Dave Hoover


When Satellites begin crashing to Earth, Moon Knight becomes involved after the destruction of a large part of South Brooklyn.  His Shadow Cabinet contacts set him on a trail of clues leading to a reclusive Billionaire named Harlan Silverbird.

Moon Knight makes his way to Silverbird's private manmade Caribbean island, where the billionaire has forced NASA scientist Randi Moore to help him create a vibranium ray to shoot down satellites, as well as a "Silvermoon" satellite he plans on launching that will prevent any other satellites from being launched without permission/payment.  All part of Silverbird's nefarious plan to hold the world's satellite communications hostage.

After Moon Knight fights his way to Silverbird's compound, he battles the mad billionaire, but finds that Silverbird has a vibranium force field that prevents any of Moon Knight's weapons from touching him.  When Moon Knight is told by the captive scientist that Silverbird is just stalling him and the Silvermoon satellite is launching, he leaves Silverbird and rushes to stop the launch.

Moon Knight is too late to prevent Silvermoon from launching, but he turns the vibranium ray onto the island's control tower, causing a massive feedback that destroys the satellite and begins melting the island itself!  Moon Knight manages to rescue the kidnapped Dr. Moor, but despite his best efforts, Silverbird is destroyed along with his island.

The End. . .


An extremely obvious and almost aggressively average filler issue starts off this final handful of Marc Spector: Moon Knight comics on the wrong foot.  The letters page explains that a filler was needed for the regular art team so they could have a break, and the cliffhanger with Gambit and Werewolf by Night that issue #50 ended on would be back on deck starting next issue.  

I think this might be the first time I've ever seen an editor just flat-out admitting that readers were getting a filler issue.  It's just sort of a strange thing to see and actually the most interesting thing about the issue in general.   The story itself looks like it was randomly-generated by some sort of chart where you pick one thing from this column and two from that one.  The art isn't bad, but it doesn't even try to be anything but average.

Overall, what we have here is a filler issue with a story and artwork so utterly average that I had to go back and read it a second time for the review because I'd already forgotten the details immediately after I got done reading it the first time (which was only about 10 minutes before I started writing this).  This will probably be the most word space that anyone will ever devote to this issue.  You're welcome.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
INKS: Chris Ivy
COVER: James Fry III


We continue directly from the previous issue. . .er. . .Issue #50. . .with Jack Russell (AKA Werewolf by Night) and Gambit fighting in the deserted Spector mansion.  

The scene shifts to Shadowkeep, where Marc Spector has decided it's time to turn some attention to his Corporation.  He makes a rare appearance at the office and discovers a state of chaos.  After taking control of the situation, he's informed that the newest corporation in town, PhalkonCorp, is making moves to take over SpectorCorp.  Marc assigns a team to investigate the threat.  Back at Shadowkeep, Frenchie decides to try and track down Chloe for more answers about his new Templar abilities.

MEANWHILE. . .At PhalkonCorp, Marlene Alraune (AKA Marc's former lover) is upset when she learns she's going to head the team to take down SpectorCorp.  She informs Mr. Phalkon (AKA Seth The Immortal, Templar Troublemaker) that she refuses to be used unfairly because of her previous relationship with Marc Spector.  Phalkon agrees. . .for now.

After the chaos at SpectorCorp, Marc heads out on patrol as Moon Knight, glad for a night of nice, peaceful punching.  In Central Park, he encounters two strange superhuman beings. . .Glaze (who is able to secrete a gel that hardens around her target) and Cubist (who emits pheromones that confuse his enemies).  Moon Knight defeats them pretty easily and gives chase when they retreat.  But his pursuit is interrupted by a riot at a homeless camp.  Moon Knight helps the police save the residents before heading home for the night.

Back at Shadowkeep, Frenchie tells Moon Knight that he's discovered an unknown problem in the base's computer systems, but before they can investigate more, the intruder alarm from Spector Mansion goes off!  Moon Knight quickly heads out and arrives to find Gambit and Werewolf by Night fighting in his parlor.

To be continued. . .


First off. . .great cover!  I really like the playing card frame and Werewolf by Night looks fierce!

This issue seems to be trying to set up a lot of upcoming story beats. . .I'm thinking they MIGHT have tried to cram too much into it.  Unfortunately the promised three-way crossover between Gambit, Moon Knight, and Werewolf by Night promised by that sweet cover AND the cliffhanger ending to issue #50 is barely to be found, with only a couple of pages devoted to it.   A bit disappointing because I was looking forward to Werewolf by Night showing up (as I'm sure many other fans were at the time).

James Fry and Chris Ivy make a welcome return on the art side of things, but for some reason there are places that their usually-stellar visuals take a severe dip in quality (For example, the police cars in the page scanned below).  Maybe they needed a longer break?  Or maybe they weren't putting in their best effort, knowing they only had two more issues to go before being replaced?

Overall, we have an issue that's jam-packed with story threads for the series moving forward. . .maybe TOO jam-packed, because the main event advertised (a Moon Knight, Gambit, and Werewolf by Night crossover) is barely even there.  Hopefully things open up a bit more next issue.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
INKS: Chris Ivy
COVER: James Fry III


Continuing from last issue, responding to an alarm at his unoccupied mansion, Moon Knight discovers Gambit and Jack Russell (AKA Werewolf by Night) fighting in his parlor.  Moon Knight jumps into the fight and it becomes a three-way brawl until he uses the weapons on his "Angel Wing" aircraft to bring things to a halt.  

Moon Knight demands explanations and Gambit tells him that he's there to inform him that during their fight at Four Freedoms Plaza a while back (in issue #41, part of the Infinity War crossover), Psylocke discovered some severe health problems, as well as something even darker, when she probed his mind.  Moon Knight tells Gambit that the problem is taken care of and now get the %#$* out of his house.

Turning to Werewolf by Night, Moon Knight learns that he's there because he's tracking some sort of supernatural demonic stench that led him straight there, and since he's now got a mission to destroy unchecked supernatural demonic creatures, Moon Knight has to go down!  

Again, Moon Knight says that the problem has been taken care of, but if the Werewolf REALLY wants to take down some monsters, he can help Moon Knight hunt down the two strange beings he fought in Central Park earlier that night (last issue).  The Werewolf agrees and it's team-up time!

On the way to Central Park, Moon Knight has Frenchie contact the Shadow Cabinet for leads on their prey.  He learns the location of Glaze and Cubist, but suspects that they may be more Hellbent sent to hunt him on the orders of Seth the Immortal (AKA Seth Phalkon).  He keeps the information from Moon Knight because he wants to follow up on it himself as he tries to learn more about his new Templar powers.

After arriving at Central Park, Moon Knight and the Werewolf stumble onto a large group of superhuman creatures that announce themselves as Hellbent before attacking!  There are seven of them and the heroes are severely outnumbered. They quickly find themselves on the losing side of the fight!

IN THE MEANTIME. . .Downtown, we see SpectorCorp's investigators begin looking into PhalkonCorp and quickly discovering that there's a lot more going on than they thought.  At the same time, at PhalkonCorp, Marlene Alraune is also beginning to discover the same thing, and is becoming uneasy with her role at PhalkonCorp.

BACK AT CENTRAL PARK. . .With Moon Knight and the Werewolf all but defeated, Gambit's timely arrival to the fight turns the tide in favor of the heroes!  As the heroes battle the demonic Hellbent, the Templar creature known as Manx jumps in and slaughters the fleeing demons before informing Moon Knight that this was only one small enclave and the city is in extreme danger of being overrun by the Hellbent.  After relaying this news, Manx disappears.

Gambit leaves to inform the X-Men about the Hellbent danger, and Werewolf by Night promises Moon Knight to come if needed to fight more Hellbent before also leaving.  Moon Knight returns to Shadowkeep, where Frenchie is still trying to track down the source of the mysterious failures that have been plaguing their equipment and computers recently.

The End.


What we have here is an issue that packs in threads of FIVE different storylines. We have (1) Frenchie trying to learn more about his new Templar superpowers. (2) A potential invasion of New York City by the demonic Hellbent. (3) The SpectorCorp investigation of rival PhalkonCorp. (4) PhalkonCorp moving into position to take over SpectorCorp with the help of Marlene. And (5) The mystery of Moon Knight's equipment and computers at his base being sabotaged.  All that PLUS crossover action with Gambit and Werewolf by Night.

It seems a bit overstuffed and heavy, with not enough time being spent on any one storyline to give any of them much weight, and giving the comic a rushed and hectic feel as the story skips back and forth between them for short scenes.  Worse, what SHOULD be the focus of this issue (and the last one as well), which is the advertised crossover with Gambit and Werewolf by Night, suffers from the same rushed, cramped feeling as everything else because it has to be running alongside all the other story threads.

Overall, we have an issue that isn't BAD, it's just really unfocused.  The writer is trying to run too many storylines at once and they all suffer for it.  The crossover aspect was almost buried and was pretty disappointing for something that SHOULD have been an exciting reunion of two characters with an interesting history together (Moon Knight and Werewolf by Night).




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
INKS: Chris Ivy
COVER: James Fry III


We begin in Shadowkeep, where Moon Knight and his Shadow Cabinet medical expert are dissecting the corpse of Network, one of the Hellbent assassins defeated by Moon Knight and Bloodline (AKA Frenchie) in issue #50.  She confirms that the creature is demonic in nature.

ELSEWHERE. . .Frenchie tries to find Chloe (AKA his former lover and Templar warrior) at her apartment. Everything is locked up, so he decides to climb the fire escape to the roof despite his not being able to use his legs.  He's unaware that Chloe is observing his efforts from across the street without interfering, as some sort of test of Frenchie's resolve.

Back at Shadowkeep, a strange creature somehow possesses Moon Knight's new *sigh* "Moonmobile" and begins to wreak havoc through the city using the high-tech weaponry of the car.  Moon Knight sets off in pursuit, only to witness the car transforming into a tank!

IN THE MEANTIME. . .We see the final pieces being moved into place for PhalkonCorp's takeover of SpectorCorp, with Marlene witnessing her mysterious employer Seth Phalkon (AKA Seth The Immortal) meeting with two of the more human-looking Hellbent agents.  We also see SpectorCorp's investigators breaking into Phalkon Tower and discovering that Marlene Alraune is employed by PhalkonCorp.

Back with Moon Knight and the possessed *sigh* Moonmobile, the battle rages.  The Moonmobile/Tank transforms into a gigantic robot, and then a huge crab-like construct before Moon Knight manages to defeat it and discover the strange creature at the controls, which manages to escape and begin taking over the whole city by possessing the power grid!  Moon Knight stops it by shutting down the power in a ten-block area.

After the battle, at Shadowkeep, Moon Knight and his Shadow Cabinet contacts determine that the creature was a gremlin, and was surely also the cause of all the recent mysterious equipment and computer failures.  Moon Knight probably accidentally picked up the gremlin after visiting Doctor Strange (in issue #47), because Strange's Sanctum is know to be crawling with gremlins.

Back with Frenchie, he finally makes it to the roof, only to be confronted by two Hellbent!  Chloe decides to leave and let him survive or die as a test of his new abilities.  She's got some other stuff to do and doesn't have time to be fighting Hellbent.

To Be Continued. . .


What the %$#* did I just read?  This was bad.  It was "Moonmobile" bad.  Just linger there a moment, folks. . .Moonmobile.  Mooooooooooooooonmobile.  Swish it around a little.  Terry Kavanagh decided to give Moon Knight a silver convertible with moon-shaped headlights and a gigantic fin on back.  

Moon Knight has suffered a few indignities during the course of this series.  There was the whole teen sidekick thing. . .then there was the time he realized he'd been worshipping the wrong Khonshu all this time (whoops!). . .and let's not forget getting hauled into Avenger's Headquarters by fake Thor to get verbally abused by fake Captain America.  Those aren't going onto anyone's list of top ten awesome Moon Knight moments.  

But while those moments weren't great, giving Moon Knight a Moonmobile (and actually just CALLING it a Moonmobile) just sort of makes me feel bad for Moon Knight. . .like I want to give him a hug and tell him things will get better in the future after this series is done.  

Bear witness, good readers.  This existed. 

Overall, there's a lot wrong with this issue (which is a pretty obvious and fairly obnoxious filler before bringing in the new art team next issue), but I can't get past the Moonmobile far enough to get into anything else.  I think this might be the first time I've actually felt sorry for a fictional character.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Stephen Platt
INKS: Chris Ivy, Al Vey & Scott Koblish
COVER: Stephen Platt


We begin at PhalkonCorp, where Marlene is regretting her decision to help take down SpectorCorp.  At the same time, Marc Spector's investigative team have broken into PhalkonCorps headquarters.  They unknowingly trip an alarm and Seth Phalkon (AKA Seth The Immortal) himself confronts them. . .draining the life force of one of Spector's men and leaving the other an insane wreck.  Marlene also hears the alarm and discovers the two investigators, but Phalkon has already left.

IN THE MEANTIME. . .Frenchie (AKA Bloodline) is getting severely beaten by two Hellbent (named Agony and Flare) at Chloe's apartment.  After being thrown out a window and hanging from a fire escape, the pain and stress activate the Bloodline link and he transforms into the gigantic, savage form of his insane great grandfather, Pierre Latrec.

WHILE THAT'S GOING ON. . .Marc Spector is downtown at the police station identifying the body of his dead investigator and seeing the insane shell that the other has become.  Blaming himself for their awful fate and now knowing there's something EXTREMELY shady going on at PhalkonCorp, he vows to avenge his friends and get to the bottom of things as Moon Knight!

BACK WITH FRENCHIE. . .ER. . .BLOODLINE. . .In his gigantic, transformed body, the two Hellbent are no match for the savage creature that Frenchie has become.  He kills one of them (Flare) and brutally injures the other before the police arrive and he makes a quick escape.

LATER THAT NIGHT. . .Moon Knight breaks into PhalkonCorp headquarters and has to fight his way through an extremely extensive gauntlet of high-tech automated security measures as he makes his way to Seth Phalkon's office.  When he arrives, he confronts Phalkon, but is shocked to discover that he looks exactly like Marc Spector!

To be continued. . .


Remember back in the review for issue #46 where I said that after Marvel failed to pull the trigger on a 90's style replacement Moon Knight they came up with a different 90's specific solution for the character later on? 

Well. . .HERE WE ARE!

Image Comics hit the scene in 1992 (about a year before this comic came out) in a big way, kicking the door in on the comics industry with a defection of major comic talent (primarily artists) from DC and Marvel (mostly Marvel) by way of the sweet siren song of (among other things) independent ownership of their work.  Their comics were blowing up the collector market and making a HUGE splash in the comic shops.  Marvel and DC were left scrambling to catch up to the new kid on the block. . .especially Marvel, who were pretty much specifically targeted by Image.  

These days, Image has carved out a well-deserved niche as the publisher to read if you're tired of superheroes.  But in Image's early days, it was all superheroes, all the time.  Nothing but spandex.  You could almost hear every title scream, "LOOK! WE WANT TO BE THE NEW MARVEL!"  Honestly, most of their output was directly aimed at trying to capture Marvel's audience with thinly-disguised "edgier" versions of Marvel's properties with a heavy focus on action and artwork instead of story.

Marvel (and DC to a lesser extent) fought back by. . .well. . .copying Image.  They brought in a new batch of "hot" artists and started making edgier and more action-oriented comics of their own.  Marc Spector: Moon Knight was one of the many titles involved with this 90's comic book artist arms race.  

So what we have here is one of the more "collectible" issues of this run with the introduction of artist Stephen Platt.  I'm not entirely sure if Marvel brought Platt in for an 11th hour effort to save the title, or as a way of testing reader response to his work before moving him to a more popular book.  

In any case, Platt didn't stay with Marvel long (just these few Moon Knight issues), thanks to a second wave of Image luring Marvel talent to their company. . .sort of hilariously letting Marvel do all the work of finding and recruiting hot new artists in order to compete and then grabbing THOSE artists as well.

Platt's comic debut with this issue made a pretty huge splash.  Sales of this title surged upward and the few issues that Platt did both covers and interiors for hit the top of Wizard's Top Ten list (I miss Wizard), with Platt also hitting Wizard's Top Ten artists list for a respectable amount of time.  His style is an exaggerated, hyper-detailed style that is pretty obviously "inspired by" (putting it kindly) Todd McFarlane. . .who at the time was pretty much a comic book deity in the eyes of many fans, so ANYTHING close to his work was red hot.

Okay. . .enough about the elephant in the room.  Let's look at the comic itself.

Honestly, it's not good.  Not quite "Moonmobile" bad, but still not great.  Platt's art is a major distraction from the story, and you can tell that he's got a way to go before he reaches the level of Todd McFarlane that he's trying to get to.  The story is continued from threads laid out in previous issues, but you can pretty easily tell that the writing has been sort of shoved into the passenger seat in favor of the new superstar artist driving this series.  You can definitely feel Terry Kavanagh shifting gears. . .especially in upcoming issues. . .to try and emulate the "Edgier" and more action-packed Image style that the art is pushing.

Overall, we have a pretty bad change in direction late in the game for this series.  Marc Spector: Moon Knight basically becomes an Image comic for these final few issues, and it just ain't a good fit. Artist Stephen Platt may have made a big entrance with this issue, but reading it 28 years down the road just makes me sort of shake my head and chuckle in a somewhat nostalgic way as I remember the 90's.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Stephen Platt
INKS: Chris Ivy, Al Vey & Scott Koblish
COVER: Stephen Platt


Continuing from last issue, Moon Knight is fighting Seth (The Immortal) Phalkon, who looks just like Marc Spector!  During the fight, Moon Knight reveals that he's actually Marc Spector, leading Phalkon to reveal in turn that he is Marc's great-grandfather, and that Marc is the last of a line of Hellbent/Human hybrids!  Seth tries to drain Marc's life force, but there is some sort of bio-feedback explosion that sends Moon Knight out the window. . .

IN THE MEANTIME. . .Frenchie (AKA Bloodline) is using Shadowkeep's computers and Shadow Cabinet medical contacts to try and find answers as to why he transformed into the brutal form of Pierre Latrec instead of the swashbuckling Henri Remont, and if there's any way to control the Bloodline transformations.

ELSEWHERE. . .we catch up with Chloe (AKA Frenchie's former lover and a secret Templar warrior) training with three renegade Hellbent (called Vortex, Shard, and Dementia) who have joined the Templar cause and now call themselves "The Cadre".

BACK AT PHALKONCORP. . .Moon Knight survives the fall through the window and begins to make his way back up to keep fighting Seth.  On the way, he tries to contact his Shadow Cabinet and discovers that PhalkonCorp ALREADY has a direct link to Shadowkeep. . .one of the Shadow Cabinet is a traitor!  

He calls them together for one last meeting, but when he's unable to discover the mole, he severs all contact with them permanently.  As he does so, he accidentally discovers that Marlene is actually the one who gave PhalkonCorp the inside connection!

WHILE THIS IS GOING ON. . .Frenchie is interrogating the captured Hellbent called Agony, desperately trying to find answers about the Templar/Hellbent conflict and his place in things.  He discovers that the Hellbent originate from a place hidden in the Amazon rain forest called Hellhole, so he takes the jet and heads for South America to investigate. At the same time, Marlene is at her penthouse apartment, agonizing over her part in helping hand over SpectorCorp to Phalkon.  Marc Spector appears, but he's acting strange.  

BUT THEN. . .Moon Knight ALSO appears at the penthouse and the other "Marc" is revealed to be Phalkon.  To Marlene's horror, Seth reveals his true demonic nature as he and Moon Knight battle.  She helps to defeat Seth by attacking him with the weapons of Moon Knight's Angelwing aircraft, but before Marlene and Marc can talk about what's happened, a mysterious voice calls out to Moon Knight and he disappears (for an Infinity Crusade crossover next issue) into thin air!

Before Marlene can begin processing what just happened, a reptilian Hellbent called Hook attacks, rescuing Seth and throwing Marlene off the roof!

To be continued. . .


First, there's no denying that's one SWEET cover! It makes fairly regular appearances on my rotating "Wall O' Covers" display in my office at work.  Probably the best cover of the whole series, in my humble opinion.

Like I said last issue, it's pretty clear that Kavanagh is having to shift gears in order to emulate the edgier and action-packed Image style that Platt's art is pushing.  This means a LOT of exposition as he changes focus toward the demonic Hellbent becoming the main antagonists of the story. . .giving Moon Knight (and by extension, Stephen Platt) plenty of awesome monster fights to engage in as this series staggers toward the rapidly-approaching finish line.  

And yet, even as the story takes a back seat to the art, Kavanagh STILL can't give up on the idea of making a permanent mark on the Moon Knight "canon".  His making Marc Spector discover he's actually a demon/human Hellbent hybrid himself in this issue is ridiculous and reeks of a writer desperately trying to make ANYTHING he's done stick.  Unfortunately (for Kavanagh, anyway), this ill-advised Hellbent "revelation" was never referenced again outside of this series.  

Overall, it's a mess.  Ridiculous revelations out of nowhere about Marc Spector's half-demon Hellbent ancestry fly in the face of just about everything that's EVER previously been established about the character. Add in distracting art and a new all-action. . .all monster-fightin' focus and it makes this issue a hard one to get through. At this point, I'm only still in this because there's just 4 issues to go and I ain't a quitter!




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Stephen Platt
INKS: Chris Ivy, Al Vey & Scott Koblish
COVER: Stephen Platt


Continuing from last issue, Marlene is rescued from falling to her death by Marc Spector's personal assistant, Donna Kraft. . .who just so HAPPENS to be an old friend and college rival of Marlene's.  They decide to team up and prevent PhalkonCorp from taking over SpectorCorp.

ELSEWHERE. . .Moon Knight arrives at Paradise Omega, where he is informed that he has been chosen (along with many other heroes) for a chance at redemption for his sins by a being called "The Goddess" (Who is actually another manifestation of Adam Warlock left over from Infinity War).  He waits at Goddess' Cathedral to be called to duty.

IN THE MEANTIME. . .Frenchie and his captive Hellbent, Agony, are flying over the Amazon rain forest toward Hellhole. . .the realm of the Hellbent.  Agony taunts Frenchie to the point that the stress activates the "Bloodline" trigger in his DNA, transforming him into his pirate ancestor, Henri Remont.

Agony uses the confusion of the transformation to make her escape by ejecting from the jet, while Bloodline/Remont struggles with the unfamiliar controls of the aircraft before crashing in the jungle!

Agony makes her way to the nearby hidden temple entrance to Hellhole, where the badly-wounded Seth Phalkon (AKA Seth the Immortal)  has been taken by the Hellbent Hook after his losing battle with Moon Knight in New York.  Agony sacrifices herself to Seth, letting him drain her life force to atone for her failure and letting herself get captured.

WHILE ALL THAT'S GOING ON. . .Back with Moon Knight at Paradise Omega, the Goddess calls a group of heroes from the gathering to "Enlighten" a non-believer in their ranks.  Moon Knight isn't part of the group called, but he demands his chance for redemption and jumps into the portal they are teleporting through.  When they arrive, Moon Knight is informed that even though he wasn't invited, the Goddess is amused and willing to give him his chance.  All he has to do is take down his old friend, Spider-Man!

Moon Knight (along with X-Factor mutant, Multiple Man) pursues Spider-Man, trying to prevent him from reaching the Goddess' Cathedral. . .but in the end, Moon Knight loses the running battle and is teleported away from Paradise Omega for his failure.

BACK IN NEW YORK. . .Chloe's "Cadre" of turncoat Hellbent are attacked by the Templar Shadowspawn called Manx.  They put up a good fight, but are defeated.  Chloe steps in at the last moment and prevents Manx from killing the Hellbent. . .telling him that since she's the only Templar in New York, she's in command of him now and he'll be joining their fight that they plan on taking to Seth The Immortal in Hellhole.

At the end of things, we find Marc Spector in some sort of limbo begging for another chance at redemption and being taunted by The Goddess until he finally admits that he's not even fully human and doesn't deserve her mercy.

To be continued. . .


This issue is probably the most "valuable" to collectors who care about these things.  It has a very nice Todd McFarlane "homage" Spider-Man cover, and it's a tie-in to "Infinity Crusade", the third part of the MASSIVE "Infinity" Trilogy of crossovers (thank goodness it's only one issue).  Even so, I fail to see why this muddled mess of a comic is worth about $70 raw (according to the fine folk of COMIC BOOK REALM ) and upwards toward $200 for a graded copy (According to Ebay).  I got mine from a dollar box, so how-bow-dat?


Collector "Value" aside, there's honestly not much to like about this issue.  Beyond the crossover aspects. . .which receive absolutely NO context in the issue itself, unlike the Infinity War issues where there was at least an ATTEMPT to get readers up to speed. . .just about all that's going on here is herding Moon Knight and his supporting cast toward "Hellhole" in Brazil for what promises to be a climactic showdown with Seth the Immortal.  Okay.  Fair enough.  It's set-up.  

The problem here is that the main villain and the conflict around him just isn't very interesting.  90% of this issue is action. . .it bounces from scene to scene and doesn't give the reader time to care about ANYTHING.  Hardly surprising. Since issue #55 the story has taken a back seat to the artwork anyway. The convoluted and ridiculous plot only serves as an extremely flimsy framework to hang monster-fightin' action scenes on at this point.

Unfortunately, for a comic trying to lean hard on the new artist, his work in this issue is pretty inconsistent. . .with a few panels looking sketchy and unfinished.  Generally-speaking, compared to the past couple of issues (where the art was distracting, but pretty good in a 90's-tastic way), this one looks a bit half-baked.  

Nice cameo by "unfortunate 90's costume with that infamous bewb window" Sue Storm, though.

Overall, we have a comic that is inconsistent in both art and story (the "rules" for Frenchie's Bloodline transformations are just swingin' in the wind), with about half the issue (the Infinity Crusade elements)  having almost no context at all.  This may be a pretty "Valuable" issue to comic collectors, but for actual comic READERS, it's pretty lacking.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Fred Haynes
INKS: Scott Koblish
COVER: Stephen Platt


Continuing from last issue, Moon Knight is teleported away from the Infinity Crusade and back to Earth. He very conveniently appears in the Amazon, right where all the rest of his supporting cast are at, right in the tunnels leading to Hellhole!  He doesn't know why he's there, all he knows is that there's a bunch of monsters he needs to punch standing in front of him!  So he starts punching monsters.

MEANWHILE. . .Above Hellhole, we learn the Frenchie survived the crash of his jet by bailing out in a high tech "Micro-Tank" that he just HAPPENED to have aboard.  He uses the tank to storm the entrance to Hellhole, blasting his way through the Hellbent guards.  Unknown to Frenchie, Chloe, Manx, and the three rogue Hellbent calling themselves "The Cadre" are following behind Frenchie. . .letting him destroy the guards as he assaults Hellhole in search of the missing Templar archives.

Frenchie eventually runs into Seth The Immortal and his bodyguard of more powerful Hellbent known as Hellbent Primes.  A battle breaks out and Frenchie is defeated by the greater power of Seth and the Hellbent Primes.  But as Seth tries to deliver the killing blow, Frenchie's Bloodline DNA triggers and he transforms into the savage form of his insane ancestor, Pierre Latrec!  He begins punching monsters with renewed vigor!

AND THEN. . .Chloe and her rogue Hellbent allies jump into the fight, giving Bloodline/ Latrec, the chance to escape while they take over punching monsters so he can continue searching for the hidden Templar archives . . .even though it's not really clear WHY.  Seeing that the battle is lost, Seth teleports away.  

WHILE THAT'S GOING ON. . .Moon Knight has managed to fight his way through the Hellbent guards, but then runs into Bloodline/ Latrec. . . not realizing it's actually the transformed Frenchie.  Moon Knight thinks Bloodline is just another sort of monster that needs punched, while at the same time Bloodline thinks Moon Knight is ALSO some sort of new Hellbent guard keeping  him from the archives that needs punched.  The two begin punching each other.

Moon Knight is all but beaten by the savage Latrec, but just as he's about to be defeated, he embraces his Human/Hellbent nature and drains Bloodline's life force. . .only to watch, horrified, as Latrec transforms back into Frenchie, who is apparently dead!  Seth steps forward from the shadows where he's been watching the fight the whole time, congratulating Marc on finally giving in to his true nature.

To be continued. . . 


Most of this issue revolved around Moon Knight, Frenchie, and Chloe fighting their way through Hellbent and converging on the Templar archives, so there was very little story to be had. . .most of the dialogue was various Hellbent monsters shouting out what their powers are as they attack, and Moon Knight and company shouting back as they punch their way through.  The climax is wrapped around Marc Spector embracing his hybrid Hellbent/Human nature by using his new demonic powers. . .and that's the biggest problem with this issue.

Terry Kavanagh's last minute "Hail Mary" attempt to put his permanent mark on Moon Knight by turning him into a half human/half demon hybrid with life-draining powers is SUCH a big pill to swallow that I no longer find it surprising that this run of Moon Knight comics is hardly mentioned or referenced ANYWHERE.  Even the general Wikipedia article on Moon Knight comics barely touches on this series and is mostly a reference to Stephen Platt in the FOUR sentences devoted to the entire 60 issues.  It seems that the comic world just sort of wants to forget this run ever even existed, for all the information there is to be found on it NOT mentioning Platt.

Speaking of the only reason this series is ever even mentioned in passing. . .Stephen Platt just does the cover on this issue (and the next).  It seems that Mr. Platt was notorious for missing deadlines and even on his big comic debut, he needed a fill-in artist for 1/3 of the issues he worked on.  No wonder he pretty much vanished from the comic business in 2003 after taking roughly 3 years between issue #5 and #6 of his own Image series, SOUL SAGA .

To tell the truth. . .I like the simpler, cleaner lines of fill-in artist Fred Haynes better.  A shame when a comic's biggest selling point gets outdone by a temp.

But I think someone forgot to tell Haynes that Moon Knight is supposed to be wearing armor.

Overall, we have an issue that stands as a sort of testament as to why this series is barely mentioned. Terry Kavanagh trying to create a half human/half demon Marc Spector as a last-ditch effort to make a permanent mark on the character finally broke the camel's back.  He should have quit trying after the Moonmobile.




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Fred Haynes
INKS: Fred Haynes & Scott Koblish
COVER: Stephen Platt


Continuing from last issue, Moon Knight is horrified do discover that he used his new demonic powers to drain the life from his best friend, although to be fair, Frenchie WAS attacking him in the form of a gigantic humanoid monster.  Moon Knight's rage kicks things up a notch and he renews his attack on Seth the Immortal (AKA Marc Spector's half-demon great grandfather).

Chloe, Manx, and her Hellbent Cadre show up and save Frenchie. . .er. . .Bloodline as Marc and Seth fight their way toward the Templar Archive and you know what?  This story has become so  unhinged that I don't even want to continue.  It's just basically an extremely flimsy framework to hang the constant monster-fightin' scenes on that the new hotshot artist couldn't even bother to come in and draw.

But I guess here we are, so I'll boil it on down quick just so I can be done with it.  Everyone discovers that the Templar Archives are nothing more than a mirror.  Moon Knight defeats Seth.  Bloodline reveals that the Archives were inside him this whole time.  For some reason, the whole place starts falling in. Seth dies in a most anti-climactic way as he's buried in rubble. Moon Knight and Company escape via a hidden magical Templar portal just in the nick of time.  Then we get an epilogue showing that Donna Kraft and Marlene Alraune are now the joint owners of SpectorCorp. Aaaaand. . .that's it.

To be concluded. . .


I've spent more time than literally ANYONE else trying to decipher the bizarre plot of this series and write it out so it makes sense as it gasps and wheezes its way to the finish line.  The nonsense in this issue has FINALLY made me lose patience. 

It's a strange thing in that the storyline is convoluted, yet at the same time, flimsy and weak.  I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it.  The writer just keeps piling more and more stuff on!  I called it bizarre a few line up, and that's really the best way to describe it.  How else to describe a narrative that introduces a NEW story thread about a powerful "Hellbent Prime" leader called Nightshadow (his introduction pictured below) out of nowhere, with literally no context. . .POOF!  HERE'S THIS NEW GUY! In the next to last issue of the series?  

And that's just one example! There are actually two MORE storylines starting in this issue that I'm not even going to get into.  The series is almost over and it's time to tie up story threads. . .not to just keep on adding them!

Reading this issue is sort of like secretly listening in on three nine year old kids having a G.I. Joe battle in a backyard sandbox and trying to make sense of their rambling narrative as they slam their toys into each other.

Wait. . .now who is THIS guy? Isn't this series all but over?

Overall, trying to make sense of this issue made my head hurt.  The flimsy, yet overloaded, story in this issue would definitely be a contender for a "Top 10 Worst Longbox Junk Comics of The Year", if I decided to actually make such a list (and now I'm thinking about it, I might just do that). As far as I'm concerned, I'm just glad that this whole misguided storyline will be put out of its misery soon.  This went really wrong really fast.  




SCRIPT: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILS: Stephen Platt
INKS: Stephen Platt
COVER: Stephen Platt


Continuing from last issue, Moon Knight and Company have escaped the destruction of Hellhole through a Templar portal that sends them all directly to Moon Knight's Shadowkeep headquarters, where Marlene is waiting for them (dressed in a spandex superhero costume for some reason. . .making this issue a teeth-gritting read right from the FIRST couple of pages).

While Marlene reunites with Marc and tells him that he's no longer in control of SpectorCorp, Chloe, Frenchie, and their Hellbent Cadre allies discuss the future.  Frenchie revels in his new Bloodline powers unlocked by the discovery of the Templar archives (powers that will never be mentioned again in any Moon Knight story).  Chloe and the Cadre decide to carry out a mission to search out any remaining Hellbent and either destroy them or try to recruit them to the Templars (A mission that we will never know anything more about since this is the last time Chloe or the Cadre are ever mentioned).

Marc and Frenchie have a heart to heart talk, where Marc reveals that he's half-demon (something never mentioned again) and THAT might be what saved him from death all those years ago instead of Khonshu.  Frenchie tells Marc that he's to call him Bloodline from now on (until the next Moon Knight series, where he's just Frenchie again) and that he's now just as much a bad@$$ hero as Moon Knight (Again, until the next series where he's just a helicopter pilot).


Seth The Immortal (who everyone thought was dead) appears on Shadowkeep's computer monitors, along with a countdown to "Zero Hour", which Seth (somehow now alive as a computer construct) gleefully informs Moon Knight is when his electronic "techno-mutation" consciousness will spread from Shadowkeep and ACROSS THE WHOLE WOOOOOOORLD!  

Moon Knight sets the self-destruct as everyone evacuates.  Shadowkeep is destroyed in a massive explosion, but the Hellbent Cadre use their powers to keep the damage to the surrounding area to a minimum.  Unfortunately, Marc didn't make it out in time, and. . .well. . .he's dead, Jim.

A sad epilogue at Marc Spector's grave tells us that Marlene will use SpectorCorp's money to be the force for justice that Moon Knight tried to be (At least until the next Moon Knight story, where SpectorCorp is dissolved by Marc after he rises from the dead AGAIN. . .but THAT'S another tale).  

An epilogue to the epilogue gives Moon Knight fans one final last moment kick in the teeth by revealing that the powerful Hellbent leader called Nightshadow that appeared out of nowhere last issue is actually. . .wait for it. . .wait for it. . .here it comes. . .Randall Spector! And we're finally done with this mess.

The End.


Thank God it's over.  

These final two issues have been some of the hardest comics I've gritted my teeth through in quite a while.  There's a LOT of dangling story threads here that lead me to believe that either Marvel had plans for another series focusing on Chloe and the Hellbent that never happened or that Terry Kavanagh was being a bit petty and trying to make it hard on the next Moon Knight writer.  Maybe a bit of both. But if it WAS Kavanagh being petty, it didn't work.  The next Moon Knight story pretty much just ignores this whole run, beyond Moon Knight being dead and having to be resurrected again.

The "story" in this issue is beyond ridiculous. . .starting right off with Marlene wearing a skin tight spandex superhero suit (see below) for no apparent reason.  There's no explanation given for why or how Seth has suddenly transformed from an immortal vampiric demon into an electronic "techno-mutation" consciousness.  

There's no real reason given as to why Moon Knight can't outrun a guy in a wheelchair to escape an explosion, or for that matter, why his shiny 90's Adamantium Superhero Armor couldn't save him from the blast. . .especially since it saved him from gigantic explosions in previous issues at least twice since he got it.  

And then there's Kavanagh's final middle finger to Moon Knight fandom on the last page of the issue. . .Randall Spector somehow brought back to life as an armored superhuman demonic creature.  

This issue was a sloppy mess from start to finish, but that final epilogue was just insulting.

Overall, this was probably one of the absolute worst final issues I've ever read.  The story is bizarre and, even in the LAST issue, Kavanagh can't resist trying to make permanent changes to the Moon Knight "canon" with dangling story threads and a last moment ridiculous reveal.  Worse, Stephen Platt's art (especially with him inking his own pencils) is extremely distracting and sometimes doesn't even fit what the characters are saying or doing.  

Between the continued attempts to force change to the permanent Moon Knight narrative and the over-indulgent artwork, this whole issue positively reeks of egotistic posturing by the creative team.  It's a pretty poor finish, to say the least.  The only good thing about this issue is that it's the last one.


And here we are. . .the end of Marc Spector: Moon Knight.  It's been a pretty long and strange trip from the beginning, but this final handful of issues pretty much tells me what I've been wondering from the first issue:  Why is there so little mention of this title, even though it stands as Moon Knight's longest-running series to date?

Well. . .now I know why.  By the time Marc Spector: Moon Knight limped over the finish line, writer Terry Kavanagh had twisted the character SO much in his constant efforts to make a permanent change that would stick, that Moon Knight was pretty much damaged beyond repair.  This is NOT the Moon Knight that Moon Knight fans wanted.  I would even go so far as to say that Moon Knight fans NEVER got the Moon Knight they REALLY wanted from issue one to issue done.

This last handful of ten issues pretty much boil down to a self-indulgent writer with an agenda of his own. Instead of trying to give fans what they wanted, Terry Kavanagh was obviously more concerned with what HE wanted for Moon Knight.  Add in a self-indulgent artist and the final few issues went from being a mess to being an egotistical disaster.

Frankly, I see it as a bit of miracle that Marvel didn't pull the trigger on a replacement Moon Knight or giving up and killing the character off earlier than they did.  Kavanagh must have been working some favors in the Marvel offices to keep this series staggering along past issue #47.

Up Next. . .

I didn't want to make this entry TOO much of a scroll bomb, so I'm going to go over my final thoughts on all sixty issues of Marc Spector: Moon Knight taken as a whole before I move along to something else.

Be there or be square!