Moon Knight #15-18
Issue(s): Moon Knight #15, Moon Knight #16, Moon Knight #17, Moon Knight #18
There's actually an interesting thing to explore in these issues, but the story is extremely decompressed and also has a bit of a cheat ending.
In his pre-Moon Knight days, Marc Spector did a lot of Bad Things as a mercenary. In this story, one of the countries where he operated decides to have him captured and put on trial. The country is "Bosqueverde" and Spector's crime was killing the president, in front of his wife, while helping put a dictator in place.
Issue #15 has Silver Sable's Wild Pack being hired by the Bosqueverde government to capture and (unofficially) extradite Spector (it's not known that he's now Moon Knight). Spector evades the Wild Pack, including Sandman and Paladin, way too easily.
The Wild Pack has been hired to take him alive, and it's said that that's what slows them down. But the Wild Pack aren't assassins, as far as i know, and in any event we've seen occasions where they've had to capture people before. So i really don't buy Moon Knight being able to take out Sandman with a water hose (i know, i know: he was defeated by a vacuum cleaner in his first appearance. But he's usually shown to be very powerful).
In the end, after Spector gets away, he decides to turn himself in anyway, since the guilt of what he did in Bosqueverde is eating at him.
Literally nothing happens in the next two issues, except that the case against Spector gets softened. The president that he killed is described as a "'benevolent dictator' type" (whereas earlier it seemed he was democratically elected), and the guy that Spector was working for "promised all sorts of Democratic reforms" (although it's also said that he paid better). We also start to see hints that something is up with the wife of the president that was killed, who is an advisor to the current president.
In issue #18, Moon Knight pretends to join a prison break with some other political prisoners that plan to kill the current president, and once he's out he teams up with Marlene and Frenchie, who have come to rescue him, and he stops the assassination attempt.
Moon Knight then shows the president who he is, and asks to be pardoned. In return, he'll seek out the guy that hired him to kill the first president, Emmanuel Raposa.
The president agrees, and pardons Spector despite anger from his people.
We also get a vague sort of confirmation that something was up with the first president's wife, but we don't find out what.
Obviously things are left open for a future arc. But it is a lot to ask of readers to sit through four issues of nearly nothing for what turns out to just be a set-up. An examination of Spector's time as a mercenary is potentially interesting. It's clearly been the case that Spector has been atoning for his actions as Moon Knight throughout his various books. But having him face up to specific crimes that he's committed is still potentially worthwhile, and these issues do get some mileage out of Spector's guilt and him having to see the war ravaged country and people that he helped produce. But i feel like Chuck Dixon went into this without actually having a lot to say and without a resolution, so it just kind of flops there at the end.
Compounding matters, while i've been surprisingly happy with the Velluto/Palmer art, it seems to be in decline here, particularly evident in the depiction of the established Wild Pack characters (the colorist getting Silver Sable's hair wrong doesn't help).
One other thing happens in this arc. Midnight, tired of being rejected as a sidekick, decides to dress up in a Moon Knight costume while Moon Knight and his friends are away, and commit crimes. And he stumbles across a Secret Empire meeting.
He gets away, but of course the Empire now assumes that Moon Knight is after them, and they plan accordingly.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: A Daily Bugle headline reads "Spider-Man In Heroic Action", suggesting this takes place while Puma still runs the Bugle.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showFrenchie, Marlene Alraune, Midnight (Jeffrey Wilde), Moon Knight, Paladin, Sandman, Secret Empire Agent Number Seven, Secret Empire Agent Number Six, Silver Sable
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