Characters Appearing: Chloe Tran, Frenchie, Marlene Alraune, Moon Knight, Raoul Bushman, Spider-Man
Moon Knight #1-3
Issue(s): Moon Knight #1, Moon Knight #2, Moon Knight #3
This series is also the arrival of Chuck Dixon to the Marvel universe books. From profile blurbs printed in the lettercol in issue #2, he'd previously written non-Marvel books Airboy, Evangeline, and Winterwold plus Alien Legion for Marvel's Epic Line and Savage Sword of Conan. Dixon's main claim to fame at Marvel will be his Punisher runs, but despite the street level setting, Dixon (and Marvel) resist the temptation to turn Moon Knight into a Punisher-like character, as you can see from this argument with Frenchie after taking out some muggers.
The most interesting thing to me about these issues is the art, which is by Sal Velluto, who previously drew some lackluster issues of Power Pack.
I want to attribute the huge jump in quality to Mark Farmer on inks, but Velluto and Farmer actually collaborated on Power Pack #39, and this is still a big improvement.
The West Coast Avengers series sent Frenchie away, but obviously he's returned, and Marlene shows up in issue #1 as well.
To get that "international flavor" and also use someone from Moon Knight's pretty sparse Rogues Gallery, Dixon brings back the Bushman.
The character, a former mercenary associate of Marc Spector's, has now taken over his homeland country of Burunda.
Marlene temporarily left Marc after finding out about his housekeeper, Chloe...
...but she then calls to say she's being attacked by Bushman's goons. When Moon Knight arrives...
...Marlene has already been taken captive.
Bushman escapes. To locate him, Moon Knight cases out the Burundan embassy. He's spotted by a pair of geeky computer guys that Bushman has working for him, and a group of native spearmen are sent out to chase Moon Knight.
Spider-Man happens to notice the spearmen.
But does he help out? Ask Moon Knight if he needs help with a bigger problem? Nope, he just takes some pictures and swings away.
Bushman demands a ransom for Marlene's release. Moon Knight considers paying for it, but none of his wealth is liquid at the moment, so he's forced to attempt to rescue her. However, he's too late: Bushman has already taken her to Burunda.
African spearmen running through the streets of New York is at best silly, but i do like the attempt to convert Bushman into a political enemy, someone to provide an anti-Imperialist viewpoint.
Unfortunately it just can't work at all. Bushman has always been represented as a purely evil self-interested mercenary, and this story doesn't make any attempt to give him an awakening or change of heart. And Moon Knight, despite his wealth, does not really make a good foil for him in that role. It's true that Marc Spector was a mercenary, but again, he was less bloodthirsty about it than Bushman and he's since turned away from that role. So Bushman's anti-imperialist trappings are entirely cynical, making him as generic a villain as an Evil Commie from the 1960s.
That said, his "cure for AIDS" is chilling and unfortunately all too realistic.
Burunda is a fictional nation, but it's very similar to the real west African country Burundi, and if you squint really hard you can see it says "Republic of Burundi" on this helicopter. So i guess in the Marvel universe Burunda is several hundred miles north of Burundi? This is Frenchie acquiring a helicopter to help Moon Knight in his invasion to rescue Marlene.
And here's Moon Knight encountering Bushman after fighting his way through his mansion.
You can see the problems trying to fit Bushman into a legitimate anti-Imperialist role here.
As for Marlene being a kidnapping victim, i guess it's worth noting that in one of the scans above, she claims she can benchpress 300 pounds. And she does manage to free herself.
And she also manages to fend off Bushman's soldiers after Moon Knight beats him in the fair hand-to-hand combat he claimed he wanted.
But of course, she does it all in a bikini.
Moon Knight decides to let Bushman live, and they all flee in Frenchie's helicopter and decide to go to the Riviera.
Dixon plays the role of Moon Knight as a minor super-hero well, with characters barely knowing who he is and calling him things like Moonbeam and Moonshine and even Spider-Man having to squint before recognizing him. I'm not really a Moon Knight fan, and this storyline is pretty much as generic a Moon Knight story as you can get, although it doesn't get into his multiple-personality thing at all (he does disguise himself as a cable repair man at one point). It's solid but nothing exciting.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have Spider-Man's brief cameo here after Web of Spider-Man #52 (although it's context free).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Havent read these issues, but I do like the idea of bringing back Bushman. He is a scary, realistic villain (face that skull tatoo would look scary) however he might not be the best foil for MK.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 1, 2014 2:52 PM
Never cared that much for Moon Knight but I do like Chuck Dixon's work, especially over at DC. I liked his Punisher War Zone with John Romita Jr., too. As for Moon Knight, seeing this series here just reminds me the '90s are about to begin and -- cue the dramatic music -- nothing will ever be the same again.
Posted by: Robert | October 1, 2014 6:34 PM
The idea that Spector never shot anyone that wasn't pointing a gun at him seems like a retcon. Spector talked about all the blood on his hands in Moon Knight 29- that didn't seem like he was talking about people he killed in self-defense.
Posted by: Michael | October 1, 2014 9:59 PM
Re: Morpheus- he appeared in Moon Knight, Fist of Khonshu 3 so that might be a mistake in the MCP.
Posted by: Michael | October 1, 2014 10:00 PM
Dixon made Moon Knight an above quality book. Not quite as good as Moench at his best, but far better than Moench at his worst. Quality was very consistent. The only stumble I recall is the sidekick angle.
My only complaint is that Dixon didn't really develop the occult angle of the character. I didn't like the overt Egyptian mythology angle of the last series, but a more subdued involvement - especially with supernatural horror elements - would have added the one thing Dixon's run lacked. I think an upcoming story arc has Brother Voodoo and I hoped there'd be more in that vein, but it becomes fairly routine after that.
Posted by: Chris | October 1, 2014 10:03 PM
@Michael - Thanks, i'll remove Morpheus and add him back if i see evidence of him.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 1, 2014 10:05 PM
Oh Chuck Dixon, I really like his 90s Batman and Robin books.
Posted by: davidbanes | October 1, 2014 10:07 PM
Just some observations: 1) A Gil Kane shot in panel 2.
2) "Marlene,oh my Lord, Marlene." Noooooo! Very cliche
Hey, Fnord, I think Spidey knew Moon Knight wasn't in any real trouble so why step in and complicate things, give him a break will you, Jeez,:P
kveto from prague: Have you read Christopher Priest's (Jim Owsley) Conan. I'd say it's up there with the best of 'em.
Posted by: JSfan | October 2, 2014 7:33 AM
Hey JSfan, I've read Priest's Conan and found it very unHowardian. Better than Bruce Jones, who was the worst of the Conan comics writers, but Priest threw in too many fantasy elements for my taste.
Sorry for discussing this in a Moon Knight thread, fnord:-)
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 2, 2014 3:13 PM
I love Marlene. Easily my favorite character in the book. And since I'm a guy, I fully welcome the bikini.
This series wasn't up to par with Moench's 1980 ongoing, but it's Chuck Dixon on scripts plus Sal Velluto and Mark Farmer on art. Lots of action to boot. I prefer Moench's characterization and his supporting cast, but at least we have Marlene back.
Posted by: Clutch | October 4, 2014 12:39 PM
I agree that I also like Marlene. I mean, she can bench 300 lbs., she's ticklish, she can engineer her own escape, shoot guns and rock a bikini. What's not to like?
Whatever happened to her?
Posted by: Bill | October 4, 2014 6:54 PM
She got "cured" of AIDs.
Posted by: JC | January 11, 2016 8:23 AM
May I ask why these Moon Knights aren't listed as "Marc Spector: Moon Knight"? The indicia lists them as such though I much prefer just calling it Moon Knight too for the sake of brevity.
And personally I've never much cared for when a book incorporates the secret identity of the main character into title ala Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man or Steve Rogers: Captain America (and especially when actually the hero in question has 3 secret identities...).
Posted by: AF | March 5, 2016 2:40 PM
I don't list it that way for the same reason i don't list the adjectives (e.g. Sensational She-Hulk) unless it's necessary to distinguish from another concurrently published series. As you say, for brevity.
I did make the exception for Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man but that's because i often saw that book referred to as "Peter Parker" in the footnotes.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 5, 2016 2:53 PM
Comments are now closed.
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