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This is probably one of the most disappointing first issues
I’ve ever read. If there’s two creators you don’t expect to “phone” it in, it’s
Bendis and Maleev when they’re working together. Nothing about this book is
interesting and frankly if you’ve read anything that had Moon Knight appear in
it in the last several months you’ll be left scratching you’re head on how
this fits in with anything in the Marvel U.
The gist of the issue is that Moon Knight’s alter ego Mark Spector has moved to the west-coast and made his life story into a Xena/Hercules type production and become a success. Then Steve Rogers dressed as Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man come to him and tell him that he needs to find the west-coast Kingpin that no one knows about and shut him down. Because… Moon Knight made L.A. his territory by moving there. He begins watching the docks until he finds two men making a deal with Mr. Hyde for… wait for it… an Ultron unit! Then the mystery villain picks up the boat containing the unit out of the water with a space ship or something and leaves. Moon Knight manages to take the head of the unit and shows it to Captain A-Town, Wolvie and Spidey who are now figments of his imagination.
The most interesting thing about Moon Knight is not his damaged psyche, which is a shame that Bendis didn’t get that memo. To see all the work from Charlie Huston undone by Bendis in one issue is just heart breaking. Granted this entire book feels like it was written for readers that have no familiarity with the character at all, so if you read the last two ongoing series or anything before that you may want to sit this one out until the second story arc. Bendis takes him back to his bat-shit crazy self, minus the supporting cast that made Moon Knight relatable to readers. Bendis fills the issue with tons of dialog and none of it is very interesting. There is one conversation between two mobsters working for the mystery Kingpin that is decent, but not enough to save the issue at all. Mixed with the fact that everyone and I mean everyone, in the book talking the exact same it doesn’t help to make this book enjoyable to read. Granted four of the characters should talk the same since three are in Mark’s head, but what about the rest of the characters?
The art is disappointing. Instead of seeing Maleev grow as an artist since his last monthly book this looks like a step back. There’s no life to the panel, each one looks emptier than the one before and even the characters look bored to be there. There’s not much in the Hollywood skyline to begin with, but there’s a scene where Maleev makes it look like an orange mess on the page. Nothing is striking or interesting to look at. What’s worse is that his abilities as a visual story-teller are not present. This was clearly a "by the book" issue in which he drew the script and put no insight into it. This is really apparent and awkward when Moon Knight has a full page to knee Hyde in the face. On paper it sounds good, but executed it’s not very interesting or dynamic. To give it a full page makes it look like the script was too short and they need to stretch it.
The worst part of all of this is that book is $3.99. Four bucks for one of the most hallowed comic experiences I’ve ever read. Anyone expecting Bendis and Maleev to recapture the magic of their run on Daredevil is in for a big surprise, because nothing here resembles anything from that run; especially the skill sets of the creators. If you like this issue more than likely you enjoy anything with the name Marvel, Bendis or Moon Knight stamped on it. If it’s for some other reason I feel sorry for you.
Overall Score – 3.0/10
*Great for new readers that are willing to spend the money and have never read anything from the creators or character before*