Surprising many, Marvel Comics’ solicitations for April included the final issue of Moon Knight. The series is now set to end that month with issue 12. Brian Michael Bendis has confirmed this but also assured fans that this will be the end of his story that he and Alex Maleev intended from the start. The duo signed on for a twelve issue story, meaning this cancellation has no impact on their original plans.
Moon Knight was one of the three relaunches in Marvel’s Big Shots Initiative from 2011. This initiative paired three characters with three high profile creative teams in the hopes of giving each property new life. What this produced were three series generally well-received by readers and critically acclaimed by reviewers.
Yet even though these were good titles, the cancellation of Moon Knight seems to indicate the failure of the Big Shots Initiative. It was Moon Knight that had the most to prove. Daredevil and Punisher are just the latest volumes for two characters who consistently have their own books. Moon Knight was the challenge. The Big Shots Initiative was meant to propel the character into a relatively enduring ongoing series. That’s not happening. Meanwhile, the sales of Daredevil and Punisher are no better than the average for those characters.
It should be pointed out that sales of Moon Knight are not poor. All indications point to it selling at a comparable level to some other Marvel titles like Hulk, Deadpool and Punisher. The problem is that this level is not high enough to afford a creative team like Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. So why not continue the series with a new creative team? Well, it’s also at a level where it can’t afford to lose a chunk of readership, which would likely leave with the two high profile creators.
Moon Knight featured Marc Spector relocating to Los Angeles under the delusion that he was working with the Avengers to combat the west coast’s own kingpin of crime, Count Nefaria. For those who have missed out on this series, it’s a safe bet that there will be an announcement of a hardcover collection for the entire 12-issue run sooner than later.