Moon Knight #35
Issue(s): Moon Knight #35
Moon Knight goes up against minor Spider-Man villain the Fly and gets his ass whupped, big time. Like, back broken, stuck in a wheelchair for weeks whupped.
The Fly can see in all directions at once, like a real fly, which is a cool little twist.
But it's his powerful wings that make him formidable against a non-powered foe like Moon Knight.
After an indeterminate amount of time in the wheelchair and doing physical therapy, Moon Knight, as Steven Grant, runs into a Soviet mutant (although she's not working on government orders) who is hunting down defectors in a ballet program that Grant is sponsoring. The mutant, Bora, can summon freezing winds.
Grant forces himself out of the wheelchair, seemingly entirely by force of will.
He heads to Professor Xavier to get information on Bora (Moon Knight doesn't know that Xavier is the leader of the X-Men; only that he's an expert in mutant genetics).
Moon Knight also gets the Fantastic Four's help for the final showdown with Bora at the ballet theater, but he asks the FF to maintain crowd control only since he needs to prove himself post-accident.
Xavier sends the X-Men to help as well.
There's a lot to like about this issue. First, it's rare to see a hero defeated so utterly in a way that isn't a just a set-up for rematch later in the same arc. Moon Knight tried to defeat the Fly and he failed, full stop. His ability to recover from his humiliation and injury was an arc in its own right but it didn't end in the cliched rematch. Second, Bora doesn't have the trappings of a typical super-villain. No costume, and the purely personal motivation of an unstable person. On the other hand, there's a lot of melodrama.
Honestly, and i don't know quite what i mean by this, but it doesn't read like a Tony Isabella story. It reads more like an Ann Nocenti kinda-arty emotional drama sort of story.
But overall, it's an interesting read. And who doesn't love guest stars?
This possibly should be considered part of Assistant Editors Month. An editorial by Linda Grant notes that Denny O'Neil is off at the San Diego convention with the other Editors and so she's moved up to full editor for this issue. But the issue doesn't have the usual gag warning on the cover and it's a regular, albeit guest star-laden, story inside. So i'm not listing the issue as being part of the event.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Context free appearances for the FF and X-Men. As noted in the comments, the Invisible Girl is not yet visibly pregnant.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBetrand Crawley, Bora, Colossus, Fly, Frenchie, Gena Landers, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Marlene Alraune, Moon Knight, Mr. Fantastic, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Storm, Thing, Wolverine
i too liked that there was no rematch with the fly.
bora was a really interesting villain.
Posted by: kveto from prague | November 5, 2011 5:52 PM
Doug Moench stated a few months later that Isabella actually called him up to get his blessing on writing this book, and then proceeded to make his blood boil by sticking the guest stars in(something Moench would never have done).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 6, 2013 3:57 PM
Moench may have grown accustomed to Shang-Chi's adventures sparingly featuring guest-stars, so he expected the same for Moon Knight. I suppose he preferred to feature Moon Knight in more pulp style adventures along the lines of the Shadow (a partial inspiration for Moon Knight) or the radio hero the Green Hornet, who tended not to battle peculiar foes in male-panty hose.
Posted by: PB210 | September 6, 2013 8:36 PM
So the Fly kicks Moon Knight's ass and beats up Spider-Man at one point and pretty soon after he becomes such a loser that he's Scourge-bait? I get the fact that he has a goofy look and name, but he was being booked so well.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | September 27, 2015 12:47 PM
This issuer shows that the Fly's unstable mutation, established in his Spider-Woman appearances, now makes him do stuff like eat garbage. I suspect that didn't help his case when the writers were looking for villains to feed to Scourge.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 4, 2015 12:10 PM
I've been using your site as a resource for running a Marvel Super Heroes rpg. As a result I noticed that the Invisible Girl doesn't appear especially pregnant here...
Posted by: Kory | March 22, 2017 1:37 PM
I have this between Fantastic Four #262-263. Sue's pregnancy begins showing in #263. So placing this prior to that seems to work well. I've added a note about her in the Considerations.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 22, 2017 2:26 PM
If memory serves, this one issue of Moon Knight was made available on newsstands along with contemporary issues of the other two titles that had gone direct-sales only (Ka-Zar and Micronauts). That might be the reason for the inclusion of a Spider-Man villain and appearances by the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Give the casual newsstand reader who picks the issue up to look through as many reasons as possible to actually buy a copy and hopefully subscribe or consider visiting a comic shop for subsequent issues.
Posted by: Dan H. | March 22, 2017 3:14 PM
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