Monday, October 12, 2009

Vengeance of the Moon Knight - Is Marvel Finally Coming Around?

I am a Moon Knight fan. Even when I first read his stories in the back section of the magazine format "Hulk" in the 70's, I knew this dude was cool. He was like Batman in so many ways, but somehow just a little edgier because he had 3 different secret identities.

When Marvel announced two years ago that they were bringing him back, I subscribed to the title as soon as possible. I was excited to see this hero coming back, though Marvel warned he would be "a little more violent". That was an understatement. The title was so graphically violent (including a scene where Moon Knight literally rips Bushmaster's face off with his teeth) that I canceled the subscription and dropped reading the title altogether. Call me a wimp if you want to, but I grew up in an age where heroes were heroes and didn't have to kill someone just to prove they were big and bad.

And now along comes Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1. I was a little leery about giving the title a try, but boy am I glad I did! Marvel has set this character up to be everything he was meant to be by giving him this code against killing. Now he just wants to take the bad guys down without seriously hurting any of them, and it's a breath of fresh air from the ultra-violent crap Marvel has been putting out lately.

Issue 1 starts out with Moon Knight stopping a bank robbery in broad daylight with such flair and panache it makes Batman look like an amateur. My favorite scene is him riding an overturned van down the street like a surfboard. And issue #2 even brings in the Sentry for Marvel's ultimate "This is our Superman and Batman" type of confrontation. I know this might be considered a second-rate comparison team, but I still love it! The characters are similar, yes, but different enough from their DC counterparts to give us some cool possibilities. While I really like the Sentry character, we're almost five years into him as a regular hero in the Marvel universe and Marvel still hasn't figured out what to do with him so I imagine he's not long for this world anyway. Still, it's good to see him in action again.

Now issue #3 is bringing Bushmaster back, so I'm holding off on subscribing again until I see if this whole "no killing" rule is written in stone or if Marvel is just toying with us before making the character so gruesome it's sickening. But I hope Marvel has decided to make this a trend and finally give us one title that we can read without seeing tons of blood and gore all over every fight scene.

DC consistenly out-performs Marvel with its core heroes. Batman does not kill (unless Grant Morrison writes him) and hasn't for decades, and he remains one of DC's most popular characters. It's not necessary to make him a killer to make him cool, and DC has proven that time and again. Why can't Marvel pick up on this and realize a hero who slaughters every group of thugs he faces isn't that cool?

So for now, I'm giving Marvel a big thumbs up for doing a great job with the first two issues of this title. Now let's see if they can actually use restraint and give us a hero to root for without him killing everything that moves. I don't care how much he gets compared to Batman by the press, let us enjoy him!

What about you? Do you feel comics are too violent today and need to dial it back just a little for the average reader?


Rick said...

Yes ever since the "grim and gritty" era of comics they have gotten too violent. Marvel started done this read, in my opinion, when Wolverine was cretaed and added to X-Men. Punisher at the same time was created. Wolverine killed off panel and Punisher used "mercy" bullets. It didn't take long before they started really killing. It got to where you couldn't tell the good guys from the bad guys. Even DC does this sometimes. The safest books to read these days are from Archie. I hear they are doing very well with their gentle non-violent humor books.

Jim said...

Amen! Give me heroes who are heroic and I might start buying comics again.


Banon said...

Well, first off it's Bushman. Not Bushmaster (sorry, can't help it. I'm a fan too). Second, the Moon Knight series relaunched by Charlie Huston wasn't that extreme. That one instance where Moon Knight killed Bushman by ripping off his face with a crescent dart and offering it to Khonshu was the only instance where he killed someone in such as fashion and it led to his increasingly unstable mental condition for the rest of the series. I keep hearing how he's no longer killing people in Vengeance of the Moon Knight, and I will argue that there was never a time when he was a killer (as a superhero anyway). The only instances in the last series where he killed anyone was if there was literally no other choice (aside from Bushman). He was never going around killing people like The Punisher. There is even an issue where they debate over whose method is right. What he was doing, and I'm not saying this wasn't dark and violent, was he was carving crescent moons into the heads of criminals in order to mark them and get his name out on the streets. He never killed people. He killed The Black Specter in front of a Super Hero Registration parade because if he didn't, then Black Specter would have enslaved and killed thousands of people. Moon Knight killed Midnight and his nurse because they were both cyborgs and unable to kill themselves due to their programming. This was being "saved" to them. Aside from these super villains, Moon Knight was not a killer or murdering vigilante.

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